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Partners HealthCare, Health Catalyst team up on population health center

Partners, which is already invested in Health Catalyst, will raise its equity ownership stake in the analytics firm.

Bernie Monegain, Editor, Healthcare IT News

Boston-based Partners HealthCare and Salt Lake City-based Health Catalyst have agreed to team up to create the Partners HealthCare Center for Population Health and will share best practices, intellectual property, technology and training in an effort to boost its population health management.

Partners, which is already invested in Health Catalyst, will raise its equity ownership stake in the growing health data warehousing and analytics company. Health Catalyst will also invest in the initiative.

As Timothy G. Ferris, MD, Partners' senior vice president of population health management sees it, the health system's agreement with Health Catalyst will improve its care management program and improve outcomes for its patients.

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[Also: Partners HealthCare opens first urgent-care clinic outside of Boston]

Ferris, a practicing internist, pediatrician and Harvard professor, who has spent more than two decades focused on health policy and care coordination, is vice president of population health management at Partners HealthCare. Ferris will lead the new population health management center at Partners. Both Partners HealthCare and Health Catalyst teams will train there in population health management.

The goal, says Ferris, is to provide the infrastructure and knowledge base for broader outcomes transformation, not just for Partners HealthCare, but also for healthcare organizations across the country.

One key element of the deal between Partners and Health Catalyst is an agreement not only to create new technology, which Partners HealthCare has already done supported by its Health Catalyst platform, but also to make the new technology available to other health systems by commercializing it.

"We saw some of the innovations they had developed, specifically in care management and population health management, as being very, very impressive," Health Catalyst CEO Dan Burton said. "As we talked about what they had developed, our assessment was that these are relevant to the broader market," he said. "They were interested in the opportunity to commercialize. I think they were intrigued at the possibility of using Health Catalyst as the commercialization partner or agent. And we were interested in and excited about being the commercialization partner."

"We're not disclosing the price tag," Burton added, "but the terms include cash and equity. So Partners is deepening its equity stake as part of this commercialization process."

For its part, Health Catalyst is granting Partners HealthCare "an enterprise-wide, complete subscription to our entire library of everything we have built, everything we are building, everything we will build in the future," Burton said. "The best way to further Partners Healthcare's objectives – and to further the commercialization of care management and broader health population management IT, was this expansion of our technology and professional services relationship."

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"It's similar to discussions that we had with Allina Health, where they developed some IT that we felt was compelling; it was tested in the field, and it had produced real outcomes, improvements," Burton said. "We were interested in and excited about being the commercialization partner."

The collaboration with Partners HealthCare is not the first partnership Health Catalyst has crafted with its clients. Besides the collaboration with Allina Health, its first customer, which had developed information technology that tested well in the field and produced outcomes and improvements, Health Catalyst also has partnership agreement with a few of its other clients.

Partners will purchase meaningful care management and population health IP from Health Catalyst, so the two can jointly commercialize the technology.

This first appeared on Healthcare IT News. It has been edited.

Twitter: @HenryPowderly