How Epic's Cosmos, Stanford's data-mining platform aim to unlock EHR insights for care in real time

Verona, Wis.-based EHR company Epic and Stanford (Calif.) Medicine are growing separate artificial intelligence and data-based initiatives to improve public health research and get physicians access to patient data insights in real time, The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 3. 

Six notes: 

1. Epic launched Cosmos, its program that mines data from patient records at various health systems, in 2019. Cosmos now comprises 122 million patient records, which Epic's researchers mine to produce weekly reports on population-level trends across the U.S. healthcare system, according to the report. 

2. Epic also plans for physicians to eventually be able to ask Cosmos for guidance in treating specific patients in real time, helping to "change care on the individual level," Jackie Gerhart, MD, a physician on Epic's informatics team, told the Journal

3. In spring 2020, Epic used a segment of its database to find that routine breast, colon and cervical cancer screenings in the U.S. each dropped by more than 85 percent during the first few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. That report helped guide efforts to get people to make up for missed healthcare screenings, according to the report. 

"The evidence from real-world data is a different and exciting new path," Dr. Gerhart said. "You can get a lot of outcomes information from medical records that can help change care for individual patients." 

4. Atropos Health launched in late 2020 to commercialize technology developed at Stanford and convert data in EHRs to real-time insights for patient care. 

5. Atropos aims to create a "green button" search function tied to a patient's EHR that would automate real-time insights on how hundreds of thousands of similar patients were treated for the same condition, according to the report.

6. Nigam Shah, PhD, medicine and biomedical data science professor at Stanford University Medical School, told the Journal he predicts this type of EHR search will become a routine part of a physician visit within the next decade. 

"Observational data have errors," Dr. Shah said. "But that's not an excuse to say we have all this data and we're not going to use it ever."


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