Quest to spread precision medicine to oncologists nationwide

Development of evidence-based services for guiding treatment decisions within EHRs and care plan workflows is expected to be an outcome of two new acquisitions.
By Bill Siwicki
01:43 PM
precision medicine

Quest Diagnostics has made a new acquisition hopes to expand precision medicine services to community oncologists nationwide. Quest Diagnostics photo

In April, the Office of the National Coordinator said American healthcare is at the dawn of a new age: “The Precision Medicine Initiative will usher in an era of individualized healthcare,” ONC chief scientist Teresa Zayas Caban and ONC health scientist administrator Kevin Chaney said.

Laboratory giant Quest Diagnostics is hopping onto precision medicine early, and with a new acquisition hopes to expand precision medicine services to community oncologists nationwide.

[Also: The dawn of precision medicine has begun, ONC says]

Quest will form what it labels a precision oncology center of excellence through its acquisition of two Texas laboratory businesses with plans to serve oncologists across the country. Quest will acquire Med Fusion and Clear Point to create a base in the southwestern United States for providing precision medicine diagnostics to aid cancer treatment and care.

The acquisition involves preferred provider relationships for Quest with Baylor Scott & White Health, McKesson’s The US Oncology Network, Texas Oncology, and Pathologists Bio-Medical Laboratories.

The development of standardized, evidence-based services for guiding treatment decisions within electronic health records and care plan workflows is expected to be one of the outcomes of the precision oncology center effort. Quest expects to be able to offer versions of these services, once developed, to other providers in the United States with the goal to advance better cancer outcomes, Quest said.

[Also: Widespread precision medicine is still years away, experts say]

Quest will become a preferred provider of advanced oncology diagnostics for The US Oncology Network, including Texas Oncology. The network is the largest of its kind, consisting of more than 400 locations across the United States and more than 1,400 independent, community-based physicians, Quest said. The advanced diagnostics Quest will provide include genomic and pathology testing, such as tumor sequencing, typically used by oncologists to select and monitor treatment and predict disease progression, Quest explained.

In addition, Quest will be a preferred provider of a range of inpatient and outpatient diagnostic services for 12 hospitals of Baylor Scott & White Health in North Texas. Quest will provide these services from the center of excellence site in Lewisville, Texas, upon close of the acquisition. Quest and Pathologists Bio-Medical Laboratories also will have a preferred provider relationship for several services.

Nearly 1.7 million people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in the United States in 2017, according to the American Cancer Society.

“Precision medicine is changing the way we treat cancer and giving new hope to people living with the disease, but too often advanced diagnostics that facilitate the best possible care are out of reach of community oncologists and their patients,” said Steve Rusckowski, chairman, president and CEO of Quest Diagnostics. “By partnering with McKesson Specialty Health and The US Oncology Network, we will make Quest’s state-of-the-art genomic analysis readily available to community oncologists everywhere.”

The acquisition is expected to be completed in the third quarter of calendar year 2017, subject to customary closing conditions.

The center will complement Quest’s existing centers of excellence in San Juan Capistrano and Valencia, California; Chantilly, Virginia; and Marlborough, Massachusetts. These laboratories generally specialize in advanced diagnostic services for marquee health systems and specialty physicians. In Texas, Quest Diagnostics also operates full-service laboratories in Irving and Houston.

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