Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Wednesday, December 13, 2017
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Digital Platform for Health Care Industry Coming from Partners and Persistent 

Partners HealthCare and Persistent Systems have announced a collaboration that has the earmarks of a shared-resource industry cloud (aka, vertical cloud) – what the companies describe as an industry-wide open-source platform for knowledge exchange across health care providers and for development of decision support apps in the clinical environment.

With the goal of supporting digital transformation to clinical care, the co-developed digital platform will be based on SMART (open, standards-based technology platform for integration of apps with electronic health records) along with FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) developed by the Health Level-7 standards organization. The platform will enable provider systems to deploy “industry-leading best practices in clinical care across their ecosystems.”

“We’re developing an open system platform that enables you to construct apps that can be plugged into this platform, and then the platform itself can be plugged into the different data sources required to power the apps,” Sandy Aronson, executive director of IT for Partners Personalized Medicine, told EnterpriseTech. “It’s a platform that enables us to create apps that can then be linked to the electronic health record, providing a way to provide clinicians more decision support.”

Aronson said the platform will be open to all healthcare providers, there is no fee for installation and use of the platform’s code and that it can be run in a cloud environment or behind the fire wall within a participating institution. “Either way, the option will be available to build apps capable of supporting data sharing and linking the data sources for those apps together,” he said, “which really enables the kind of continuous learning we’re all seeking.”

The four-year collaboration combines clinicians and researchers at Partners HealthCare with Persistent’s experience in healthcare technology and software product engineering. Founded by Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston, and Massachusetts General Hospital, Partners HealthCare is an integrated health system that includes community and specialty hospitals, a managed care organization, community health centers, a physician network and other health services.

A typical use case, Partners said, is that instead of treating a patient by going through a generic protocol, a doctor instead will quickly create a persona based on a number of patient criteria, then match that against a profile drawn from thousands of patients to determine the best course of treatment.

“Advances in clinical analytics and machine learning have the potential to drive medical discovery at a pace never seen before,” Aronson said, “but we currently lack the ability to efficiently place resulting breakthroughs in the hands of clinicians. Through this collaboration we will band together with other institutions to extend electronic health record (EHR) ecosystems so that the benefits of this work are quickly and broadly delivered to patients.”

“Making innovative clinical tools available to our physicians at Partners and across the country relies on strong collaborations between academia and industry,” said Dr. Anne Klibanski, Chief Academic Officer at Partners HealthCare. “The co-development of this platform should yield a new set of tools that integrates applications directly into the clinical workflow -- ultimately improving patient care.”

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