$200M Later: Health Catalyst Changes the Digital Trajectory of Healthcare with the Data Operating System (DOS)

For the first time in an affordable, single technology architecture, DOS leapfrogs the features of traditional data warehousing, clinical data repositories, and health information exchanges  

SALT LAKE CITY, September 5, 2017 – Health Catalyst, a leader in healthcare analytics, decision support and outcomes improvement, today introduced the Health Catalyst Data Operating System (DOS™), a breakthrough engineering approach that combines the features of data warehousing, clinical data repositories, and health information exchanges in a single, common-sense technology platform.

Healthcare trails all American industries except hospitality, construction and agriculture in its adoption of digital technologies, according to McKinsey. Yet healthcare organizations are among the most complex enterprises in the world. That digital disparity leaves hospitals, health systems, and physician practices accountable to make high-risk decisions with untimely, incomplete, and inaccurate data.  Patients, for their part, are mostly left out of the data ecosystem that could help them be more accountable and engaged in their own care.

Traditional data warehousing, which solved some of these problems, is no longer good enough. As Gartner recently reported, traditional data warehousing will be outdated and replaced by new architectures by the end of 2018.

It’s time for something better: DOS.

A New Response to the Data-Centric Future of Healthcare

DOS is Health Catalyst’s response to a simple truth: The future of healthcare will be centered around the broad and more effective use of data.

From population health management to value-based care, healthcare providers face a quagmire of reimbursement schemes and quality initiatives, each requiring precise analysis of clinical, financial and patient data.  Yet to get there they must unravel a Gordian knot of diverse information systems that cannot communicate with each other and that separately lack the data needed to succeed. The explosion of information from wearables, mobile phones, genomics and other sources outside the traditional healthcare sphere is exacerbating these problems while also enabling personalized healthcare and management as never before, assuming organizations can manage the transformation.

DOS provides the answer: a vendor-agnostic digital backbone for healthcare. For the first time, organizations using DOS will be able to populate workflow information systems with critical point-of-decision insights, significantly increasing the value of the EHR to care providers.

Based on modern software and data engineering tools adopted from Silicon Valley, and the outcome of a multi-year $200 million development process, DOS was designed from the beginning to leverage open source technologies and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).  With DOS, Health Catalyst’s new generation software applications can be designed and developed in a fraction of the time, and with a “decision support first” mindset by reusing existing data. The same applies to third-party application development, which can leverage DOS for the benefit of Health Catalyst’s clients.

Already built and deployed at two Health Catalyst client sites, DOS delivers significant benefits to healthcare organizations:

  • Orders of magnitude faster software application development will enable applications that are tailored to specific needs, not generic requirements
  • Physicians will have more intelligent software applications that can be tuned to their preferences and optimized to their disciplines, and patients will benefit from the same data and applications with more personalized care
  • Generic, impersonal healthcare workflow and patient care will no longer be the norm
  • A new level of personalized care for both physicians and patients will finally be possible

“Clinical and financial decision support at the point of care is almost nonexistent in healthcare, restricted to a few pioneering organizations that can afford the engineering and informatics staff to implement and maintain it,” said Health Catalyst CEO Dan Burton. “With DOS, we can make that kind of decision support affordable and effective, raising the value of existing electronic health records and making new software applications possible, too.”

Added Dale Sanders, executive vice president of product development for Health Catalyst, “For the vast majority of organizations, health information exchanges, traditional data warehouses, personal health records, and EHRs have all failed to make the necessary information for decision support available at the point of decision. The state of software engineering in healthcare is mid-1990s, if not older. I include Health Catalyst in this criticism; we’ve been valuable to our customers, and are ranked Best in KLAS, but we’re not satisfied. We need to be much better, for the sake of the healthcare problems we face in our country. DOS is that next and necessary step towards something much better. Even though DOS might sound ambitious and dreamy, the reality is, it’s a common-sense step forward. We have the technology, tools, and experience to make it happen, thanks in large part to Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and Twitter. Like our Late Binding in data warehousing, I expect and encourage other vendors to borrow our DOS ideas and concepts, for the obvious reasons of competition but also because DOS simply makes sense for everyone.” 

Six Big and Common Headaches Relieved 

DOS has the power to solve extremely common problems for healthcare organizations, with a solution that:

  • Enables and simplifies the upcoming tsunami of data requirements for population health and risk-based payment models. Only 8% of the data required for precision medicine and population health resides in today’s EHRs.
  • Improves physician and care provider satisfaction by providing the right data, at the right time, in the right modality
  • Leverages legacy data warehouses without the need to replace them
  • Accelerates the benefits of mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships through rapid and granular data integration of the new organization
  • Enables Personal Health Records (PHR) for patients in an unprecedented way, including portability of the data from one care delivery system to another
  • Provides an orders-of-magnitude less expensive strategic option to “rip and replace” for integrating disparate EHRs with a single vendor solution

Groundbreaking Attributes of the Data Operating System

DOS is made possible not only by the enabling technologies and engineering patterns of Silicon Valley, but also by Health Catalyst’s proven success in managing healthcare data. Understanding the ins and outs of healthcare data requires years of operational experience that can only come of being deeply embedded within complex organizations. No other company in healthcare has more experience and skill in this area than Health Catalyst, whose customers care for nearly one fourth of all Americans.

“Health Catalyst understands the data content in healthcare like nobody else,” said Sanders. “We can ingest data from over 150 different vendors of source data systems at a very granular level, including claims, clinical, financial, administrative, wearables, genomic, and socio-economic data domains. We have a library of over 200 reusable data bindings—algorithms, value sets and metrics—and 24 healthcare-specific machine learning models. And we are expanding in each of these areas every day.”

The seven attributes of the Data Operating System are:

  1. Reusable clinical and business logic: Registries, value sets, and other data logic lies on top of the raw data and can be accessed, reused, and updated through open APIs, enabling third-party application development
  2. Streaming data: Near or real-time data streaming from the source all the way to the expression of that data through the DOS, supporting both transaction-level exchange of data and analytic processing
  3. Integrates structured and unstructured data: Integrates text and structured data in the same environment. Eventually, incorporates images, too.
  4. EHR Integration (closed loop capability): The methods for expressing the knowledge in the DOS include the ability to deliver that knowledge at the point of decision-making, including back into the workflow of source systems, such as an EHR
  5. Microservices architecture: In addition to abstracted data logic, open microservices APIs exist for DOS operations such as authorization, identity management, data pipeline management, and software application telemetry. These microservices are built specifically to enable third-party applications to be built on the DOS.
  6. Machine Learning: The DOS natively runs machine learning models and enables rapid development and utilization of these models, embedded in all applications
  7. Agnostic data lake: Some or all of the DOS can be deployed over the top of any healthcare data lake. The reusable forms of logic must support different computation engines (e.g. SQL, Spark SQL, SQL on Hadoop, et al).

These seven attributes are so significant, Sanders suggested, that they should be used to evaluate all vendors and solutions in the healthcare data space.

“One of our cultural goals at Health Catalyst that is very near and dear to my heart is that we want to offer technology and professional services as if we were selling them to our families, friends, and colleagues,” Sanders said. “In reality, that’s what we’re doing and we want to be proud to do so. With DOS and our new generation products that utilize DOS, combined with analytic services expertise tailored specifically to a client, we are quietly celebrating what we can now deliver to the industry.” 

Health Catalyst clients can watch the development of DOS via the Health Catalyst Community: https://community.healthcatalyst.com

About Health Catalyst

Health Catalyst is a next-generation data, analytics, and decision-support company, committed to being a catalyst for massive, sustained improvements in healthcare outcomes. We are the leaders in a new era of advanced predictive analytics for population health and value-based care with a suite of machine learning-driven solutions, decades of outcomes-improvement expertise, and an unparalleled ability to integrate data from across the healthcare ecosystem. Our proven data warehousing and analytics platform helps improve quality, add efficiency and lower costs in support of more than 85 million patients for organizations ranging from the largest US health system to forward-thinking physician practices. Our technology and professional services can help you keep patients engaged and healthy in their homes and workplaces, and we can help you optimize care delivery to those patients when it becomes necessary. We are grateful to be recognized by Fortune, Gallup, Glassdoor, Modern Healthcare and a host of others as a Best Place to Work in technology and healthcare. Visit www.healthcatalyst.com, and follow us on TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook. 

Media Contact:
Todd Stein
Amendola Communications