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Introducing Datavant Switchboard

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Travis May
July 27, 2021

Today, we are thrilled to announce Datavant Switchboard, our next step in helping companies safely connect patient data. This post will walk through the problem we’re tackling, how the Datavant Switchboard works, and how it is used across the healthcare ecosystem.

Background: The Challenge We’re Tackling

One of the most important opportunities of our time is to solve data fragmentation in healthcare.

As a relatively simple patient, my data is scattered across at least 100 institutions — various health systems I’ve visited, pharmacies where I’ve received vaccines and prescriptions, and insurers (not to mention genetic testing, wearables, and other health-relevant data generated in my day-to-day life). Nobody in healthcare — including the patient, the patient’s doctor, or the research and analytics community — has a holistic view of a patient’s journey.

Data fragmentation in healthcare is one of the biggest bottlenecks to improving patient care. As a society, it is far too difficult to use data to answer relatively basic healthcare questions, much less realize the full power of technology and analytics for the industry. Solving the fragmentation challenge would unlock faster medical research, reduce the cost of care, and dramatically improve patient outcomes.

Datavant exists to solve this problem: our mission is to connect the world’s health data to improve patient outcomes. We have built the nation’s largest health data ecosystem, enabling thousands of providers, payers, health analytics companies, patient-facing applications, government agencies, research institutions and life science companies to securely exchange and connect patient-level data. We provide tools that enable compliance and connectivity of data across this ecosystem.

Announcing Datavant Switchboard

We are thrilled to announce Datavant Switchboard — which we believe is a giant step forward for America’s health data infrastructure.

The Datavant Switchboard makes it easy for companies to securely manage the data that they send out and bring into their institution with the click of a button. It is designed to connect disparate datasets, control how their data is used, and comply with applicable regulations regarding patient privacy.

Over the next few years, our aspiration is for tens of thousands of institutions across the US that exchange health data to adopt Datavant Switchboard — making it a click of a button to safely and securely connect data across the entire ecosystem.

How Datavant Switchboard Works

Datavant Switchboard is a neutral, trusted, and ubiquitous infrastructure for the exchange of health data across the ecosystem. Product features include:

Connect data into and out of your organization

  • Safely share data for research and analytics use cases across the Datavant ecosystem. Datavant provides the infrastructure to de-identify, match and distribute data to parties you choose to work with.
  • Safely receive and match de-identified data from your partners in the Datavant ecosystem, tying your 1st party data to 3rd party data that you license.
  • Retrieve identified medical records on behalf of a patient from the largest ecosystem of hospitals, health systems, and clinics
  • Fulfill record retrieval requests on behalf of patients or institutions you work with quickly and easily with the most widely adopted solution in the industry

Control your data

  • Continually monitor and audit all requests for access to your data, and all requests you make for access to others’ data
  • Tightly control permissions around data access and downstream use

Comply with applicable regulations by going above-and-beyond legal requirements

  • De-identify data using privacy-preserving technologies, which have produced thousands of certified, HIPAA-compliant datasets.
  • Monitor and protect downstream privacy controls
  • Ensure compliance with HIPAA rules over patient and institutional access to data, ensuring data is only available to the right recipients at the right time

A Case Study: How Switchboard Unlocks a More Holistic Understanding of Patients

A typical life sciences company has over 100 different data sets: some of these are 1st party data sets (for example, patient hub data or trial data), and some of these are third party data sets (for example, de-identified claims data sets). As a result, the Datavant switchboard might look like this:

The switchboard makes it easy to navigate connections between your internal data (e.g., clinical trial data, registries, HUB data), your external data (e.g., medical claims or lab data that you license), your internal data teams, and the many health data analytics partners you work with (e.g., health data platforms, systems integrators, consultancies). While the underlying data might reside in different databases and institutions, the switchboard makes it easy to control those connections in a secure and compliant way. By using the Datavant Switchboard, you can make the different data sources and analytics partners interoperable, and unlock new insights about patients.

For example, imagine a breast cancer patient, Jane Smith. She has enrolled in a pharmaceutical company’s oncology trial. To gain a full understanding of how their therapy impacts Jane’s outcomes and total cost of care, they use the Datavant Switchboard to connect the trial data to de-identified insurance claims, MRIs and obituary data that they license from third parties. The Switchboard converts each trial patient’s data into a unique de-identified token. Jane’s token is matched to her records in these other data sets. The combined data can then be certified as HIPAA compliant and delivered to the company. With this connected dataset, analysis could reveal tumor shrinkage, extended survival and a reduction in her cost of care. Meanwhile, each of the data owners is able to approve this use of the data in their own version of the Switchboard to ensure that the pharmaceutical company has the right to connect the data in this way.

Who We Empower

Datavant works with tens of thousands of organizations across healthcare to provide the secure and compliant exchange and connection of data for dozens of different use cases.

Datavant Switchboard empowers:

  • Providers to compliantly retrieve and release charts to patients, supplying them with the information they need to make informed decisions throughout their care journey, to better understand and care for patient populations, to advance health through research and to comply with HIPAA data sharing requirements. Datavant currently works with more than 700,000 providers, across more than 15,000 clinics and more than 40% of U.S. hospitals.
  • Life sciences organizations to connect disparate, de-identified real world data sources for clinical development, health economics and outcomes research, and commercial analytics. Today, Datavant works with more than 30 leading life science companies.
  • Payers to access member data across disparate provider organizations to power risk adjustment, quality reporting, and design value-based arrangements with in-network providers, as well as to manage the compliant release of data to patients and institutions payers seek to partner with. Datavant works with more than 120 leading health plans.
  • Government agencies and research institutions to conduct medical research and deliver better, more cost-effective care by connecting siloed government and private sources of health data. Today, Datavant works with hundreds of federal, state and local government agencies and offices as well as more than 70 leading academic centers and non-profits.
  • Health data and analytics companies to rapidly and compliantly bring clinical, claims, lab, genomics, SDOH and other sources into their platforms for curation, aggregation, and analysis for their end customers. Datavant enables more than 100 leading health analytics companies.
  • Patient-facing apps to request access to medical records upon authentication by the patient that retrieves data across disparate healthcare organizations.

While there are dozens of different use cases Datavant enables across these organizations, I’ll share a few specific examples here.

Example 1: A health data analytics company build models to detect undiagnosed rare disease patients by connecting data such as symptom and lab patterns in the Datavant ecosystem. They then apply to electronic health records to find patients with similar health histories.

Example 2: A large health system designing population health programs might link their patients’ electronic health records to social determinants, insurance claims and wellness application data in the Datavant ecosystem to identify the types of patients most in need of support.

Example 3: A regional health plan seeking to improve their care management program can connect their claims data to social determinants and clinical data in the Datavant ecosystem to improve program design.

Our Approach: Serve as a Neutral, Trusted, and Ubiquitous Steward of Health Data Exchange

Datavant acts as the “neutral”, “trusted” and “ubiquitous” infrastructure for the exchange of health data. Each of these requirements is critical to solving health data fragmentation across the healthcare system. What this means is that we are:

  • Neutral: Our sole focus is to serve as the neutral connectivity infrastructure for the world’s health data — not the commercialization of data or analytics. — Our neutrality enables us to work with anyone across the healthcare system.
  • Trusted: Protecting patient privacy and ensuring patient benefit is at the heart of what we do. We invest heavily in security and compliance, which is why many thousands of organizations trust Datavant to power the exchange of health data.
  • Ubiquitous: As the trusted, neutral party in health data exchange, we have created the largest health data ecosystem, with tens of thousands of participating organizations.

We still have a long way to go to connect the world’s health data, but if we get this right, it will become dramatically easier to exchange health data, and improve patient outcomes for millions of patients across the healthcare system.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated on October 18, 2022 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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