Improving Cancer Care with the Syapse Precision Medicine Council


By Dennis Shin


When I first arrived at Syapse, I was impressed to hear that the company participated in the 2016 White House Cancer Moonshot Summit. Back then, Syapse announced a commitment to enabling real-world data sharing among health systems to inform cancer treatment decisions at the point of care. We launched the Syapse Learning Health Network, and a growing number of leading health systems has been joining forces ever since to share their data so that more patients can have access to the best possible treatments.

In September 2018, I had the honor of participating alongside our Syapse customers in the Biden Cancer Summit and we doubled down on our commitment to expand our Learning Health Network by welcoming more health systems to share data. The collaboration we witnessed at the Summit, and the commitments from more health systems to join our effort, is what prompted me to help form the Syapse Precision Medicine Council.

On October 18 and 19 in San Francisco, we will be honored to host the inaugural meeting of the Syapse Precision Medicine Council as a forum for leading health systems to share best practices and strategies that advance precision oncology. With more than 30 participants, this year’s Council will be comprised of representatives from Aurora Health Care, Catholic Health Initiatives, Dignity Health, Henry Ford Health System, Providence St. Joseph Health, Seoul National University Hospital, Ascension, Inova Health, LCMC Health, and OhioHealth. Combined in one room, this group of preeminent attendees represents a wide range of cancer patient communities from around the world.

Our founding participants are credited with the idea for launching the Council. They told us they had three goals: 1) strengthen their connection to the Syapse network by sharing their early experiences in growing precision medicine programs; 2) generate actionable insights to contribute to the industry’s thought leadership; and 3) leverage the Syapse platform to engage ongoing collaboration in the field that builds upon current data sharing initiatives.

This year’s agenda will kick off with a readout of findings from the Syapse strategy team’s interviews with dozens of health system leaders. Our research was focused on identifying the strategic goals driving the launch of leading health systems’ precision medicine programs and cataloging the design choices those health systems have made for program components, staffing, and operations. From there we will turn the stage over to our customers, who have designed and co-chaired a series of working sessions on such topics as “Clinical Research in the Era of Precision Medicine,” “Leveraging Real World Evidence in Clinical Practice,” and “Demonstrating the Value of a Precision Medicine Program.”

My hope for the Council is that our customers collectively will do more to lead the industry as early adopters of precision medicine. There are new and emerging opportunities to facilitate dialogue about health systems’ choices and lessons learned when scaling their programs. There are also opportunities to promote ongoing collaboration and disseminate insights that can accelerate the successful adoption of precision medicine across the industry. By bringing together thought leaders from health systems who are early adopters, the Council aims to tackle specific barriers preventing patients’ timely access to targeted treatment options.

Through the Council, Syapse will also serve the higher purpose of defining what is best practice in operating and scaling a precision medicine program at a health system. While we are still early in this journey together, Syapse and our customers maintain the long view — and the Council will be our platform to reaffirm our resolve to take on the hard work ahead. From data completeness, accuracy, and interoperability to physician and patient engagement, to executive alignment on the definition of “value,” there is no issue or challenge we cannot overcome if we combine our efforts and promote the sharing of ideas and insights, not just data.

We are excited about the progress our health system partners have already made, and I’m optimistic that the Syapse Precision Medicine Council will speed this progress. Together, we can expand access to precision medicine to every patient who needs it.