Mayo Clinic and Mercy, both large health systems and early adopters of electronic health records, are teaming up to see if leveraging data and patient outcomes from both institutions can identify illnesses and treatments earlier.
Mayo and Mercy each have large amounts of treatment outcomes and clinical data from years of using integrated electronic health records. Rochester, Minnesota-based Mayo has about 10 million patient lives in its database and about 60 algorithms in cardiology, neurology, radiology, oncology and radiation, according to Mayo Clinic Platform President John Halamka. St. Louis-based Mercy, meanwhile, also has a series of algorithms it has developed and has 15 million patients.
“But they’re all different patients,” Halamka said. “So working together, you get the benefit of a greater population of patients with more diverse medical data and the strengths of the two organizations and different algorithms that we will be spreading to the world together.”
The data are deidentified, meaning they can’t be traced to the original data source. This allows Mayo and Mercy to examine the outcomes without transferring the data between the two organizations. Each entity will have control over its own deidentified data.
By having this information, scientists and physicians can examine patterns for a certain population and identify diseases and the best treatment plans for that population. And the benefit of partnering is that the two organizations now have more diverse data from a broader range of people and geographic locations, which will reduce bias and make comparing treatment plans more accurate, Halamka said.
“Imagine we develop an amazing algorithm on the population of Minnesota and then you run it in Oklahoma. Will it work? Will it be fair? Useful? Biased?” Halamka said. “Chances are, if you look at the history of Minnesota — Scandinavians — and you look at the history of Oklahoma — not Scandinavian — it may actually not be a good idea to send algorithms from one population to another population. That is the joy of working with Mercy. Mercy can test against us, we can test against them.”
The platform also makes it easier for physicians to catch rare conditions without only relying on their past training and experience, John Mohart, president of Mercy Communities, said at the conference. He shared a story about a 13-year-old boy in his community who died a couple of years ago from a rare syndrome that wasn’t caught right away and is prone to causing heart ruptures. Mohart’s wife, an ER doctor, was on the boy’s case and later told Mohart about it, who recognized the syndrome because of his prior training.
“But most people wouldn’t [recognize it],” Mohart said. “It’s not because I was so good, it’s just that I had that experience, that history. We want to apply that to everyone now … So every pattern in every kid can be recognized before this happens.”
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