New Survey: Precision Medicine is Rapidly Becoming a Top Priority for Leading Health Systems


By Ken Tarkoff


When I joined the Syapse team earlier this year, I wrote about the increasing patient demand for precision medicine and what it would take to meet that demand. As we continue to work with our health system partners to scale precision medicine in the community, we have clearly seen the excitement and enthusiasm for precision medicine among oncologists and health system executives.

Health systems want to deliver the most innovative, effective cancer care to their patients and more and more of them are realizing the potential of precision medicine.

Now, new survey results by the Health Management Academy (HMA) offer insights into how oncology leaders at 21 of the nation’s leading health systems view precision medicine.

The results are compelling. Sixty percent of respondents said precision medicine is a high or essential priority for their health system, and 89 percent believe precision medicine will improve or strongly improve patient outcomes.

In fact, 72 percent of respondents reported they are currently implementing or have already implemented a precision medicine program. This indicates we are already in the midst of a rapid shift toward precision medicine.

I am encouraged to see that health systems are embracing precision medicine in our fight against cancer. By delivering targeted, cutting-edge therapies based on their patients’ individual genomic profiles, the health systems are offering renewed hope to patients who may not respond to more traditional treatments.

Health systems’ interest in precision medicine is clear, but the survey also asked what they need to deliver this innovative care. Seventy percent of respondents said the right software is necessary to power a precision medicine program, and all responding executives reported that it is important or very important for oncologists to have easy and fast access to integrated clinical and molecular information at the point of care. Yet most health systems, 68 percent according to the survey, don’t have this data available at their institutions.

However, the data itself is not enough. Precision medicine is complex and it presents entirely new types of data and treatment protocols to the oncologist. To scale precision medicine, we need to make it easier for oncologists to access and interpret the information they need. We need to provide guidance on which molecular tests and targeted therapies can provide the best outcomes for patients, another finding from the survey.

One way to make this information easier to understand is more widespread pervasive data sharing at the point of care. Oncology leaders overwhelmingly believe real-world outcomes from aggregated, de-identified data will be extremely important to cancer care, according to the survey, and 73 percent said tools that enable physicians to learn from these outcomes for specific patient cohorts would be extremely valuable.

This perspective is exactly why we built the Syapse Data Sharing Network, a single network that brings together the clinical, molecular, treatment, and outcomes data from across our national group of health system partners. Our network informs the provider’s treatment decision by displaying which treatments other physicians have recently used to achieve the best outcomes for clinically and molecularly similar patients.

We are in the midst of dramatic changes in how we treat cancer. The race is on to deliver precision medicine, and it is now clear health systems are on board. I am excited Syapse is leading the way in helping health systems deliver this innovative care to patients.