Seattle-based Truveta will leverage Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform to analyze health data under a new partnership with the software giant announced Wednesday.
Microsoft is also investing an undisclosed amount in Truveta, which emerged from stealth mode last year and already has more than 100 employees.
Truveta has access to health data representing 15% of the U.S. through its 17 healthcare system members. Microsoft and Truveta will work together to build up Truveta’s customer base and health system membership.
Truveta’s CEO is Terry Myerson, a former Microsoft executive who led the company’s Windows and Devices Group before departing in 2018 after a 21-year career at the tech giant.
“He understands the company, he understands the DNA, he understands the values,” said Tom McGuinness, Microsoft’s corporate vice president, global healthcare and life sciences, in an interview with GeekWire. “There’s a deep embedded trust in our business model alignment.”
The partnership comes on the heels of a $95 million investment in Truveta in July by its healthcare partners. These include Providence, the largest health system in Washington state, which was involved in forming the company.
Truveta pools de-identified data from these providers, which cover most states and a racially and ethnically diverse population.
Health data is in demand by medical providers, as well as drug companies and academic researchers developing new tools and treatments. Linking treatments with outcomes and underlying health can enable researchers to better understand the effectiveness of health interventions.
Ultimately, Truveta will enable researchers to “learn how to treat patients better and help families make more informed decisions about their care,” Myerson told GeekWire. Truveta will not use the data for targeted advertising to patients or physicians.
The company also aims to build up capabilities for analyzing data in real-time. The pandemic highlighted the need for such an approach, which can enable researchers to rapidly identify which interventions work most effectively.
Researchers within Truveta’s member health systems are beginning to query the datasets, which may be ready for wider customer use within months.
McGuinness said Truveta’s data will create value in three ways. “First, clinicians are going to be able to make better decisions for their patients with existing therapies. Second, it’s going to enable pharmaceutical firms to develop better therapies for tomorrow,” said McGuinness. “Finally, it’s going to support payers to make sure that reimbursement is really helping ensure that the strongest healthcare outcomes can be brought to their members.”
Truveta has a strong emphasis on privacy and it de-identifies data in accordance with guidelines issued by the U.S. government. “It’s a massive amount of data, and a massive responsibility,” said Myerson.
The data will be stored on Microsoft’s cloud platform in partnership with Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. That service combines Microsoft’s cloud services, like Microsoft 365, Teams, and Azure, with components designed for the healthcare industry.
The Microsoft platform provides flexibility and scalability of storage, but also advanced analytic and developer tools, said McGuinness, who joined the tech giant last year after a stint as president and CEO of GE Healthcare Imaging. Microsoft’s existing customers include Humana, Allscripts, Premera Blue Cross, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, and the pharmaceutical company Novartis.
“AI is technology’s most important priority, and healthcare is its most important application,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a video. “There is an incredible opportunity to convert the massive amount of health data generated each day into insights for researchers, clinicians, and most importantly patients.”
The software giant also has the outlook to help Truveta grow, said Myerson. Microsoft is a “partner with global reach and global thoughts on security audits, and global thoughts on privacy,” he said. That will help Truveta build up its international presence.
“Truveta has momentum in the United States,” added Myerson. But by signing up new healthcare partners in the rest of word, the company can provide more complete datasets on human health. “This is a global opportunity. We want to include the full diversity of the planet.”