“COVID-19 has impacted nearly every organization—from enterprise to startup—and their strategies for growth. Right now, most are urgently focused on resiliency to meet the demands of the moment. Yet we also need to look toward the future – to more than just surviving, but thriving. Building a foundation for this future growth requires a focus on Innovation DNA: an organization’s unique combination of technology strategies, investments, and partnerships across three key areas that become building blocks to reach future goals.”
Last week, Andrew Goldberg, chief operating officer at HealthVerity, joined a panel to talk through real stories of cross-organizational innovation and how in an era of so much uncertainty, our organization has prospered through unexpected partnerships and collaborations. The lightning talk, “Growth at the Cellular Level: Innovation DNA Building Blocks to Recovery,” featured several global leaders including Saideep Raj, Senior Managing Director, Innovation, Accenture Strategy & Consulting; Andy Barclay, Founder, Barton Child Law & Policy Center & Statistician, Fostering Court Improvement; Mark van der Laan, Professor of Biostatistics and Statistics, U.C Berkeley; Cecil Lynch, Chief Medical Information Officer, Accenture and Michelle Sipics, Technology R&D Senior Principal, Accenture.
A little bit about HealthVerity
We are a healthcare technology company headquartered in Center City, Philadelphia focused on building the tools and technologies that essentially serve the need of data logistics for what is becoming a secure world. Our technologies allow for the discovery of data, linking of data, de-identification of data under HIPAA, as well as delivery and logistics of getting data from point A to point B in the most secure and efficient manner.
New collaboration opportunities
When posed the question, “Since HealthVerity has had this collaborative approach from the beginning, it seems like everything we’re talking about here today is kind of innate to what you do already, but given all we’ve been confronted with regarding COVID over the last 6+ months, have you discovered any new collaboration opportunities?”
“The answer is resoundingly yes,” said Goldberg."When you think about trying to solve such a devastating disease as COVID-19 and the way it affects people in such different manners, it’s almost unpredictable. The availability of signal is really important. So the Gold Standard of that is the CDC. Yes, we at HealthVerity, because of the way we’ve been able to weave data together from so many disparate places, actually have more data on COVID than the CDC - which is why we’re working with government organizations like the FDA and NIH to essentially bring data together that really isn’t brought together in normal pathways.”
Another area of further collaboration has been with pharmaceutical organizations that are pursuing clinical trials in COVID-19 and have a true need for diverse patient populations enrolled into these trials. Because of the healthcare and consumer datasets we are able to weave together in a HIPAA-compliant manner, pharmaceutical companies can now better understand the ethnic and racial makeup of patients seen under each provider. Recruitment of clinical trials can then be focused on those providers that are much more representative of the populations that we need to actually solve the problem.
Novel data combinations = novel insights
Government organizations have been innovative in their processes to work with the private sector to glean insights into patient populations and datasets that they otherwise couldn’t get from hospitals or physicians (that are reporting data at the state level). When asked to give an example of the data HealthVerity has linked together that may supersede what the CDC has been able to do, Goldberg shed some light into the organization’s relationship with the leading ten national laboratories.
“We are receiving COVID test results on a daily basis,” Goldberg explained. “We’re able to link those results with any number of medical claims providers who are also seeing COVID testing and COVID diagnosing. So, you’re actually able to see much more context than simply the number of patients who have been tested or diagnosed - you can actually, in a HIPAA-compliant manner, begin to see the journey that the patient is experiencing, the co-morbidities, as well as drugs, and what may be contributing to their survival, or unfortunately, their demise.
And that level of insight just simply isn’t available on a moment's notice to the organizations studying the problem.”
Global challenges solved by an ecosystem approach
The panel was tasked to answer the final question, “What do you think are the more global challenges that an ecosystem approach can help us solve?
The world is racing to build a vaccine for COVID-19 and many participants in that race are at best unaware or at worse ignorant of that fact - that these trial populations need to be sufficiently diverse to understand the effectiveness and potential side effects of the disease.
Andrew Goldberg states, “If we can somehow figure out how to make this big world into a small world and decide upon a common platform and methodology for sharing data, we may be able to figure this out. With a broader sense of the benefits of sharing - sharing in safe ways where intellectual property and privacy can be managed - a global community [or ecosystem] can speed up the race. At the end of the day, the research is only as good as the data you have access to. “
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