AdventHealth to collaborate with AI firm BERG to improve COVID-19 care

The partnership will use de-identified patient data to zero in on factors that worsen COVID-19 outcomes among certain groups.
By Kat Jercich
04:22 PM

The artificial intelligence-driven research firm BERG announced this week that it is collaborating with Florida-based AdventHealth to improve patient outcomes and treatment options for COVID-19 patients.

The collaboration, according to the organizations, will combine AdventHealth's patient data with BERG's AI capacity to work toward bettering clinical care.

"As we continue to see COVID-19 rates soar across the U.S.A. and world, this partnership will seek to save lives by leveraging AdventHealth's vast patient datasets with BERG's proprietary AI-enabled Interrogative Biology Platform," said BERG president and CEO Dr. Niven R. Narain in a statement.


AdventHealth, which announced in February that it was switching from Cerner to an integrated Epic platform for its electronic health record, says it's also using the opportunity to enhance its understanding of the way COVID-19 affects patients differently.

"As we transition to a new EMR solution for the enterprise, BERG's AI platform will be invaluable for developing an optimal strategy to collect and monitor clinical data to better understand why factors such as obesity, diabetes and older age make people more vulnerable to COVID-19 illness," said Dr. Steven Smith, chief scientific officer for AdventHealth, in a statement.

BERG feeds clinical, EHR-sourced data (as well as other information) through its AI platform "to create cause-and-effect networks that identify discriminators and drivers of disease that can be pursued as drug targets or biomarker candidates," according to the company's website.

According to the organizations, there will be two steps to the partnership. First, BERG will use patient demographics, COVID-19 clinical information and personal medical history, including whether individuals' genetic background makes them more likely to experience certain COVID-19 outcomes. 

The second phase will include enterprise-wide data and will explore medications that could be linked with a better outcome.

BERG says it hopes the framework can be used for precision medicine for patients with other diseases.


Health systems have increasingly relied on artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve patient care in the coronavirus era.

This past week, Mount Sinai in New York announced the potential for machine learning models that can assess the risk of adverse clinical events in some patients, offering valuable insights to forecast short- and medium-term care decisions for patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

And this summer, a team from the Mayo Clinic detailed how they teamed up with Google Cloud to show how they're deploying cloud-based AI to combat the virus.

"COVID-19 has forced us to collaborate much faster and advance to many more cloud functions than we probably would have without the pandemic," said Mayo Clinic Platform president John Halamka.


"Our research efforts in Florida will serve as [a] model for the rest of the country, as our combined goal is to ensure patients are matched with the most effective treatments and help them recover as quickly as possible," said Narain.

"This longstanding and invaluable partnership will extend far beyond COVID-19 and revolutionize patient care for a number of complex diseases," he said.


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Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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(Photo courtesy ChristianaCare)

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