Leading Institutions to Focus on Improving Type 1 Diabetes Care with Machine Learning

Boston, MA. June 12, 2017. Children’s Mercy Kansas City, Joslin Diabetes Center, Cyft Inc. (a Long River Ventures portfolio company), and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust announced the creation of a new learning health system to improve the care of individuals diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Starting in mid-2017, Children’s Mercy and Joslin will deploy machine learning-enabled solutions to proactively manage health outcomes in patients with T1D at two independent diabetes clinics. Utilizing technology pioneered by Cambridge, Mass.-based Cyft, the project will work to optimize aspects of diabetes management by supplying novel information to clinical staff at the point of treatment.Four industry leaders in care and innovation will guide the project as they seek to create, evaluate, and deploy predictive models at the two selected clinics:

  • Mark Clements, MD, Ph.D., Medical Director for the Pediatric Clinical Research Unit at Children’s Mercy Kansas City
  • Sanjeev Mehta, MD, MPH, Joslin Diabetes Center’s Chief Medical Information Officer and Director of Quality
  • Leonard D’Avolio, Ph.D., CEO and founder of Cyft and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Susana Patton, Ph.D., CDE, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Kansas Medical Center

Machine learning is an entirely new approach to health analytics because it can generate robust insights from unstructured and imperfect data; such as the free text notes found throughout electronic health records. Validated by over a decade of research and clinical applications, Cyft technology will employ machine learning and natural language processing as well as device signal processing to analyze multiple data sources and create predictive models for use by health professionals. These models will detect and alert caregivers to opportunities to intervene in the care of patients at risk for deterioration in their health outcomes.

The three-year project is funded by a grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust, a foundation that seeks to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world.

“Advancing care for type 1 diabetes has traditionally been difficult as we are working to better understand the impact of clinical and sociodemographic risk factors on outcomes, while also incorporating these insights into patient management strategies,” said Mark Clements, MD, Ph.D. “Due to the development of machine learning technologies we can now make these data points immediately useful to individuals who are delivering care, not just those conducting research. This project aims to not only prove we can generate accurate type 1 diabetes learning models, but also use this information to proactively improve health outcomes and impact the wider type 1 diabetes community.”

T1D affects roughly 1.5 million people in the U.S., with more than 18,000 new cases diagnosed among youth in the United States in 2008-2009, per the American Diabetes Association. T1D is the second most prevalent chronic disease of childhood after asthma. Studies show that proactive care for glycemic control early in the course of the disease has a persistent influence on long-term clinical outcomes, making management of the disease during childhood paramount to reducing life-long risks for those living with T1D.

“For individuals living with T1D, we have learned much about risk factors for suboptimal health outcomes, but there remain significant opportunities to proactively identify and engage our patients who are at risk for future deterioration. Predictive analytics holds promise in this area as well as in the identification of novel clusters of patient factors that could identify high-risk patients,” said Sanjeev Mehta, MD, MPH. “This learning health system will further our goal of leveraging the power of our data to identify and proactively support patients who are at risk for clinical deterioration to positively impact their health and general well-being.”

“We’re increasingly seeing the effective use of predictive analytics to solve challenges in our healthcare system and this project represents the next step in that evolution,” said Leonard D’Avolio, Ph.D. “We can no longer be a ‘wait and see’ industry. Instead we’re pulling real insights from disparate data sources and using these to inform clinical care. We’re thrilled to partner with these leading institutions to serve such a critical patient population, and believe that the work this new learning health system will accomplish could fundamentally change how we care for people with T1D and their families.”

About Children’s Mercy Kansas City
Founded in 1897, Children’s Mercy is one of the nation’s top pediatric medical centers. With not-for-profit hospitals in Missouri and Kansas, and numerous specialty clinics in both states, Children’s Mercy provides the highest level of care for children from birth through the age of 21. U.S. News & World Report has repeatedly ranked Children’s Mercy as one of “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals.” For the fourth time in a row, Children’s Mercy has achieved Magnet nursing designation, awarded to fewer than seven percent of all hospitals nationally, for excellence in quality care. Its faculty of more than 700 pediatric subspecialists and researchers across more than 40 subspecialties are actively involved in clinical care, pediatric research, and educating the next generation of pediatric subspecialists. Children’s Mercy is advancing care for children with diabetes through the Children’s Mercy Diabetes Center by providing comprehensive care for children as well as support and resources for family members. Thanks to generous philanthropic and volunteer support, Children’s Mercy provides medical care to every child who passes through its doors, regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

About Joslin Diabetes Center
Joslin Diabetes Center is world-renowned for its deep expertise in diabetes treatment and research. Joslin is dedicated to finding a cure for diabetes and ensuring that people with diabetes live long, healthy lives. We develop and disseminate innovative patient therapies and scientific discoveries throughout the world. Joslin is an independent, non-profit institution affiliated with Harvard Medical School, and one of only 11 NIH-designated Diabetes Research Centers in the U.S.

About Cyft
Based in Cambridge, Mass., Cyft partners with leading care organizations to identify opportunities to optimize care management efforts for chronic / complex, behavioral health, and dual-eligible populations. Cyft’s goal is to move healthcare beyond one-size-fits-all approaches, capitalizing on all available data to identify the patients most likely to benefit from specific interventions. Backed by years of research and development and founded by Harvard Medical School Professor, Dr. Leonard D’Avolio, Cyft is the result of learning from over 10 million chronic / complex cases engagements with over 250 hospitals and 25 health plans. For more information, please visit www.cyft.com.

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective organizations in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning its active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $1.8 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. For more information, visit www.helmsleytrust.org.

About Long River Ventures
Long River Ventures provides early stage capital and support to the next generation of healthcare companies. Long River seeks exceptional entrepreneurs, funding them to support key business milestones in a capital-efficient manner. Long River typically leads or co-leads early stage to early growth rounds of $3-5 million. The firm applies decades of experience, hard-won insight, and powerful networks to help build great companies that can provide superior financial returns while empowering the healthcare system to better accomplish its mission for patients and supporting communities. Long River has offices in Boston.