Intermountain, Presbyterian and SSM Health announce new digital transformation company

Health app
Graphite’s CEO Ries Robinson, M.D., who is also chief innovation advisor at Presbyterian Healthcare Services, said democratizing digital tools and digital sophistication in general in healthcare is “extraordinarily difficult” given the lack of standardization. (Getty/dolgachov)

Intermountain Healthcare, Presbyterian Healthcare Services and SSM Health announced Tuesday the launch of Graphite Health, a nonprofit aimed at facilitating the development and distribution of helpful digital health tools.

Graphite is already in talks with more than a dozen other providers interested in joining, it told Fierce Healthcare. Its plan is to build a data platform based on a common data language that works across its participating health systems, so new potential software is more easily and readily compatible. The data platform will also serve as more than just an electronic health record, helping providers incorporate patients’ health records, health plan information and their potential various social determinants of health when making decisions.

Graphite intends to create a secure marketplace, like an app store, where software for both providers and patients is available for “plug-and-play.” Members like Intermountain will be able to use Graphite tools and also contribute guidance to steer the nonprofit’s direction. 

Graphite’s CEO Ries Robinson, M.D., who is also chief innovation adviser at Presbyterian Healthcare Services, said democratizing digital tools and digital sophistication in general in healthcare is “extraordinarily difficult” given the lack of standardization. There is no single marketplace available to research digital tools, he said, and, between legal and security review, the process of implementing one—even as a trial—could take up to a year, Robinson noted.

The Graphite marketplace intends to solve these challenges with the “quadruple aim,” Robinson said, which comprises convenience for customers, improving care, decreasing costs and making health providers happy. 

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For app developers, too, this simplifies development costs, Robinson said: Instead of rebuilding the same tool for each health system based on its unique data infrastructure, they can simply build one tool that’s compatible with them all. 

Graphite will have three advisory boards, one each for the data platform, the marketplace and security. Apps on the marketplace will adhere to the Digital Hippocratic Oath, which will help “ensure patients are treated as people rather than products,” said Dan Liljenquist, senior vice president and chief strategy officer of Intermountain, in a press release.

This along with the security advisory board will help cut down the time it takes for a health system to approve the use of a new digital tool; with Graphite, members can test a software in as little as a week, Robinson told Fierce Healthcare.