Two large systems to collaborate on precision med

Two large delivery systems that do not compete with each other have teamed to advance precision medicine and will share what is learned, in keeping with the goals of Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative.

Catholic Health Initiatives has 108 hospitals and Dignity Health has 40. Together, they will start the program at major cancer centers within both systems, working with potentially dozens of community hospitals over time, says Damin Hostin, administrative director of the initiative.

CHI and Dignity Health have engaged Syapse, a start-up vendor offering a precision medicine platform supporting clinical and genomic data integration, decision support, care coordination and quality improvement initiatives.

CHI Health-CROP.jpg
CHI Health

Other clients of Syapse include Intermountain Healthcare, UCSF, Stanford, Providence Health & Services, American Society of Clinical Oncology, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure program.

The CEOs of Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health decided to work together on a healthcare challenge of the highest level, which is how the cancer platform program came into being, Hostin says. “We both have a lot of money tied up in other things, and we can split resources.”

Both organizations realize that the amount of new knowledge being generated in cancer research exceeds the ability of regulatory policies and insurance coverage policies to keep pace with emerging treatments, so collaboration makes sense in better assimilating new knowledge.

Also See: How analytics empowers precision medicine

A significant portion of the initiative will be research collaboration across the industry, according to Hostin. “We need to collaborate with research; this is a bridge to take the promise of advanced genomics and bring it to the patient.”

The partnership will share findings with physicians, not only about their patients but they’ll also get de-identified data on patients outside of their panel.

Policymakers and insurers over time will become important partners, because as clinical trials find new promising treatments, researchers and providers will need policymaker and insurer cooperation to get new treatments approved and reimbursed. A big goal of the program is that, instead of having “molecular plausibility” of a drug working, “we will have solid evidence,” Hostin adds.

Both delivery systems will stand up their hospitals first, and then reach out to other interested hospitals that could not otherwise participate without a major capital investment.

Some 85 percent of cancer patients are treated in their own community, and this initiative seeks to strengthen the cancer fight in those communities, according to Hostin. And the timing is right, as providers increasingly accept the need for more collaboration, he adds. “There’s a balance of healthcare becoming more proactive toward solving these problems.”

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.