New precision medicine tools mean CIOs have to push them into the clinical workflow

More and more vendors are introducing tools for specific precision medicine capabilities and that makes more work for hospital IT shops that support them.
By Bill Siwicki
09:42 AM
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New precision medicine tools

As hospitals and technology vendors make strides forward into precision medicine, healthcare CIOs now have a new task at hand: integrating more tools into the clinical workflow. 

Translational Software became the latest in a growing rank of vendors and innovators creating systems that help advance precision medicine on Monday when it introduced the PGx pediatric platform. 

Last week, for instance, CureMatch announced that its system bested doctors at determining personalized cancer treatments. The list of precision medicine tools also includes such organizations as Neurotrack, which built a system that uses eye-tracking technology to predict and help prevent the development of Alzheimer’s; and Intermountain Precision Genomics, which is working with 10x Genomics to bring personalized medicine from the lab bench to clinical practice. And those are just the tools to emerge within the last several weeks. 

[Also: The next precision medicine breakthrough is about apps, not EHRs]

Translational Software, for its part, built PGx in conjunction with Inova Genomics Laboratory. The organizations described PGx as a system and testing panel that hospitals can use to predict how a child might react to specific medications by evaluating seven actionable genes. TSI also has a FHIR-based PGx API that integrates access to their pharmacogenomics solutions with existing e-prescribing and EHR systems. 

“This PGx report is a tool the CIO can use to help guide physicians based upon what is known about the special challenges of pediatric medication,” said Don Rule, CEO of Translational Software. 

[Also: New CRISPR version could make precision medicine even more precise]

With more tools coming down the pike, hospital CIOs and IT shops should be prepared for some serious integration work if they are to help make this precision medicine information as valuable as possible.

“To be really useful, embedding these tools into the prescribing workflow, whether in the EHR or in ancillary pharmacy systems, makes it much more practical to incorporate precision medicine into the standard of care,” Rule said. “The emergence of standards for extending clinical systems, such as FHIR and SMART, provides an opportunity to incorporate this functionality at a lower cost and with less disruption.”

[Also: Precision medicine clinical decision support system bests oncologists at picking cancer treatment]

Precision medicine in clinical decision support is making progress. The most recent example happened last week when the University of California San Diego Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy, working in conjunction with startup CureMatch and UCSD’s Supercomputer Center, showed that a precision medicine clinical decision support system provided successful treatment guidance for a patient after doctors were unsuccessful four times. 

CureMatch recommended single-drug immunotherapy for a 57-year-old patient, the supervising oncologist backed the system’s choice, and after four prior lines of treatment had failed, the patient is making considerable progress.

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The algorithm recommending the successful treatment option was jointly developed by UCSD’s Cancer and Supercomputer centers. “We trained the algorithm based on experience with genomic results in about 3,000 patients,” said Razelle Kurzrock, MD, CureMatch co-founder and chief of the division of hematology and oncology at the UCSD School of Medicine. “A subgroup of these patients received combination treatments and our analysis so far indicates that they have better outcomes.”

Whether for oncology, pediatrics or other specialties, as more and more tools such as CureMatch, Translational PGx and others come to market, CIOs will have a more prominent role in precision medicine in the near future.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bill.siwicki@himssmedia.com