The Mercy Health system has recently announced a new, first-of-its-kind alliance with the Mayo Clinic to create a “distributed data network” that will allow both healthcare systems to access previous patient data which, combined with new computer technology, will help physicians find the best paths for treatment and diagnosis. Best of all, all of the information is de-identified and kept within a secure system, meaning patient information can be used for good while minimizing risks of information theft.
“This unique collaboration will eliminate the barriers to innovation in health care by bringing together data and human expertise through a new way of working together,” says John Halamka, M.D., an emergency medicine physician and president of Mayo Clinic Platform. “By working together, we will be able to find the best paths for treatment and diagnosis to benefit patients everywhere. Our union has the potential to transform medicine worldwide.”
Both Mercy and Mayo were early adopters of integrated electronic health records, and over the years they have accumulated truly massive quantities of clinical data. Mercy has over 500 million patient encounters on record, while Mayo has information from 10 million of its own patients. This data was too bulky to be usable for many years, but their foresight has paid off, and the distributed data network is able to put all of that data together into something usable. The more data they get, in fact, the more it will improve.
“We have a unique opportunity today to transform mountains of clinical experience into actionable information that optimizes patient care,” says John Mohart, M.D., a cardiologist and president of Mercy communities, leading operations for all Mercy hospitals. “This gives physicians, providers and operational leaders critical information that can ensure patients receive the right treatment at the right time based on millions of previous patient outcomes, while simultaneously improving operational efficiencies and lowering costs. We believe bringing technology and data science to the bedside can provide better patient care, shorter hospital stays and overall better health for people everywhere.”
Each organization brings much more than just raw data to the table. Mayo’s expertise in highly complex care and extensive investment into data science platforms, combined with Mercy’s two centuries of innovative care for a huge number of patients across diverse communities, provide great opportunities for developing high-value solutions and algorithms that will result in better patient care. But the Mayo Clinic is not content to stop there. Their alliance with Mercy is just the first step in a plan that will hopefully grow to include organizations across the world. The greater the diversity and quantity of the data they obtain, from patients of different geographies, educations, financial statuses, etc, the more widely applicable the cures they create will be.
To learn more about the distributed data network, click here.