Mercy Technology Services creates nationwide data network with SAP
Mercy Technology Services, the information technology division of the St. Louis-based health system, has unveiled what it calls a data orchestration and insights network. The nationwide effort aims to help with analytics to inform new evidence-based approaches to care delivery.
WHY IT MATTERS
The network, developed with help from vendor SAP seeks to help healthcare stakeholders make better use of clinical data. By creating a consortium of providers willing to pool data for leading-edge analytics, MTS will also build on its own repository of de-identified electronic health record data.
The hope, say MTS officials, is to work toward creating the world-leading database of real-world evidence, where providers can access data that guides their own clinical and business strategies, and technology developers and regulatory agencies can also gain access to data that will fuel innovation.
"It’s a clinical research model where everyone wins," said Curtis Dudley, MTS’ vice president of data analytics. "Mercy built our RWE platform to make sure we’re providing the best possible care, but with an urgent need for data-driven change across healthcare, it just makes sense to scale our efforts, share unique capabilities and come together as empowered providers to create better care for patients everywhere."
The network, which is powered by SAP's HANA database, and draws insights from millions of Mercy’s de-identified patient records, will focus first on use-cases including orthopedic, cardiology and oncology evidence. Providers, pharma researchers, device makers and others can get curated data sets that are refreshed regularly with new records and patient encounters, and organized by Mercy’s own data scientists.
“Having the ability to study patient care pathways and conditions before and after exposure to a medical device is crucial to understanding how those devices perform outside of the controlled clinical trial setting,” Dr. Rick Kuntz, senior vice president of strategic scientific operations at Medtronic, said in a statement.
THE LARGER TREND
A focus on real-world evidence has helped Mercy, too, giving it better insights into the cost of devices compared to their outcomes, the health system notes – emphasizing products that have potential to work best at the best price point.
"We began this work to ensure the medical devices Mercy uses work for patients," Dr. Joseph Drozda, Mercy’s director of outcomes research, said in a statement. "With more than 8,000 new medical devices entering the market each year, it’s critical that we find better ways to evaluate their performance."
In the first three years of RWE use, Mercy saved an estimated $33 million in implanted devices and surgical supplies without sacrificing exceptional care.
This new network is just the latest innovation to come from MTS (whose 900-employee technology professionals have repeatedly earned Healthcare IT News' Best Hospital IT Departments award in years past).
In 2018, for instance, Mercy consolidated its imaging platform, distilling several legacy PACS and VNA systems into a single cloud-based imaging technology, and commercialized it through MTS as a secure software-as-a-service model aimed at small- and mid-size hospitals.
MTS is also a pioneer in helping other hospitals deploy Epic. An early Epic customer, Mercy was the first IT shop in the country to be accredited by the vendor to work with other hospitals on Epic implementation and optimization, such as its deployment at Meritus Health earlier this year.
ON THE RECORD
"Having the ability to study patient care pathways and conditions before and after exposure to a medical device is crucial to understanding how those devices perform outside of the controlled clinical trial setting," said Dr. Kuntz. "By partnering together, Mercy and Medtronic have set out to create a comprehensive and economical evidence generation model that ultimately allows patients to benefit from the latest therapies and technologies as early as possible."