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Cerner, IBM, Epic, Verily, others sign on for Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative

Leading health IT vendors get in precision medicine game at White House Summit, including Allscripts, athenahealth, McKesson.
By Jessica Davis
03:24 PM
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An all-star cast of health IT vendors and organizations are involved in President Barack Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative.

Cerner said on Thursday that it will pilot an open standardized application as part of the Sync for Science project within President Barack Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative. And it was only one of the several health IT vendors that hopped on board precision medicine during the President’s Summit. 

Driven by the National Institutes of Health and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, Sync for Science is a core component of the Precision Medicine Initiative in that it aims to recruit one million volunteers for a nationwide research project by 2019 – an effort NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, described as "the largest, most ambitious research project of this sort ever undertaken." 

[Also: FDA launches Web-based precision medicine platform]

Indeed, a veritable all-star cast of health IT vendors and organizations are involved in the project including Allscripts, athenahealth, drchrono, Epic and Mckesson, as well as as IBM, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Google’s Verily unit. 

IBM, for its part, will partner with the New York Genome Center to build an open cancer data repository, leveraging information from Watson to create new insights into cancer research and personalize treatments through genomic data analysis.

“Our vision is to create a comprehensive cancer data repository that combines whole genome, exome, targeted panel and phenotypic data in an open platform that will empower researchers and clinicians," said Robert B. Darnell, MD, founding director, CEO, New York Genome Center, said in a statement.

NIH also announced that Verily, formerly Google’s Life Sciences unit, will work with Vanderbilt University to pilot a web portal program for engaging volunteers in the initative. 

The VA, meanwhile, will also join in the commitment to PMI by ramping up its partnership with the Department of Defense to expand the Million Veteran Program and open it to more service men and women. 

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HIMSS North America Executive Vice President, Carla Smith, also attended the summit and pledged HIMSS' commitment to both engage and educate the health IT community on behalf of the Precision Medicine Initiative.

HIMSS "pledges to engage over 60,000 health IT stakeholders – including technology companies, hospital leaders, researchers and healthcare innovators – at HIMSS16, the Connected Health Conference and our other national, regional, chapter-level, and virtual education events to advance precision medicine,” the association, and Healthcare IT News owner, said in a prepared statement. “Activities will include a precision medicine policy and technology meeting at HIMSS16 and a thought leader discussion in March in Washington, DC, to discuss and provide feedback on security guidelines for precision medicine."

Twitter: @JessiefDavis

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