Mayo Clinic & Mercy Collaborate Using Innovative Data Science to Transform Patient Care

    By Kathleen Berger, Executive Producer for Science and Technology

    Doctors help patients decide what’s best for them, but more and more these days the decisions and predictions are backed by data science. The emerging field of big data analytics is now uniting two large health care systems: the world-renowned Mayo Clinic and Mercy, which is among the 25 largest health care systems in the U.S.

    Mayo Clinic and Mercy struck an agreement on a 10-year collaboration to combine health care records that have a vast amount of treatment outcomes and clinical data.

    “It’s really a first in industry where two large health systems collaborate on really finding best treatment paths for patients,” said John Mohart, M.D., a cardiologist and president of Mercy communities.

    Mayo Clinic and Mercy were early adopters of integrated electronic health records and collected a vast amount of treatment outcomes and clinical data. Until recently, the information was too unstructured and complex to analyze.  The 10-year collaboration agreement will use the most current data science and years of deidentified patient outcomes to find diseases earlier and start patients on paths to better health more quickly.

    “For too long, all the data has been so unstructured, so we didn’t have a way to use it or utilize it to find out the best treatment path, not just for rare disease and research, but for everyday treatment,” said Mohart. “As a practicing cardiologist, I may only see a rare disease five times in my career. But boy wouldn’t it be nice to ask hundreds and hundreds of other cardiologists how to treat this. But to know ‘that’ and have it delivered in real time to the providers.”

    Mohart said the reliable, proactive, personalized and predictive data would be for all medical conditions. And it’s done through privacy-protected, cloud-based technology using artificial intelligence and machine learning. The technology generates patterns to pinpoint disease earlier and identify best treatment options.

    “To find out those answers over weeks instead of years,” he said. “Mayo Clinic has been a leader. Mercy, as well, has had the longest instance of electronic health record of anybody in the country. So, we have over 500 million unique patient encounters, a huge dataset.”

    Mercy’s and Mayo’s vast electronic health records cover different populations and geographic locations.

    “We want to apply, not just health care, but environmental factors, social determinants of health that impact people’s health. And we have all that in a structured format together,” he said. “Our goal is for the common good to help patients in all the areas we serve to have better lives.”