PRESIDENT SHIMON PERES meets with Merck representative .
(photo credit: Judy Siegel)
Maccabi Health Services has amassed so much electronic patient-care data over past decades that the Merck pharmaceutical and healthcare company has signed an agreement with it to study “realworld outcomes” achieved with medical treatments and optimal approaches for improving patient adherence.
Signed in Tel Aviv between officials from Merck (known internationally as MSD) and Maccabi, the accord is the first the multinational company has reached with a healthcare provider outside the US.
A pioneer in electronic medical records and the second- largest healthcare fund in Israel, Maccabi has gathered and maintained an electronic medical record (EMR) database since 1993. This provides an unusual and valuable picture of long-term patient health that tracks how visits to primary-care physicians, hospitals and pharmacies, plus demographic shifts influence health outcomes, Maccabi officials said.
The health fund’s two million members represent nearly a quarter of all Israelis and tend to remain Maccabi members for life, they said.
Maccabi’s data sets are deidentified to fully protect and maintain patient privacy, which both companies insist on.
Unlike databases of clinical studies, the data sets have actual information on patients who are routinely treated by Maccabi doctors.
Maccabi and Merck said on Monday that they will apply technical and information research capabilities to draw insights from the health fund’s data to support personalized healthcare delivery strategies across several therapeutic areas, including prevalent and costly chronic diseases.
Specifically, they seek to enable better understanding of unmet patient needs.
“Using electronic medical record technology to help improve our patients’ outcomes and well-being has been a Maccabi priority for more than 20 years,” said Dr. Varda Shalev, director of the health fund’s primary care division.
“We believe that combining Merck research expertise with our fully integrated, electronic, de-identified patient data can unlock major insights for achieving better outcomes in healthcare, including chronic diseases where education, medication and adherence are so important. Our goal is that our data will enable research projects that advance healthcare – from product development to patient wellness programs.”
Merck’s executive vice president and chief medical officer Michael Rosenblatt was present for the event as well as for a meeting in Beit Hanassi with President Shimon Peres.
Dr. Sachin Jain, Merck’s chief medical information and innovation officer, said: “Market forces are demanding that all of us involved in healthcare find ways to enhance the quality of care while also offering greater efficiency and value, including research-driven companies like Merck. To actually reduce costs and optimize quality, we’re going to need to have new breakthroughs – in medicines and vaccines, as well as how we structure and organize and deliver care to patients. By harnessing the power of large data sets such as Maccabi’s, we have an opportunity to derive new insights about diseases, treatment paradigms and patients.”