Dignity Health, CHI create community-based Precision Medicine Alliance

Two of the nation's largest health systems announced plans to launch a precision medicine program that will provide patients with more accurate treatment options based on their genetic and molecular profile information.

Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) said in an announcement that the Precision Medicine Alliance LLC will be available at more than 150 hospitals and clinics across the country and will serve more than 12 million patients each year, making it the largest such initiative in the U.S.

The alliance will first focus on better diagnostic tumor profiling for cancer patients, and later expand to preventive cardiovascular and cancer care. The partnership will also offer the “largest collection of clinical cancer data ever compiled by a single organization” to support ongoing cancer research.

In addition to the individualized treatment plans, the alliance will integrate its electronic health records into a large data program to allow physicians faster access to clinical trial information and will work with a number of laboratories to develop more specialized tests. Kevin E. Lofton, CEO of Englewood, Colorado-based CHI said in the announcement that the precision medicine program will ensure that individual patients gets treatment catered to their unique needs.

“Conventional wisdom suggests patients suffering from the same condition should be treated with the same therapy,” Lofton said in the statement. “Science now tells us that the efficacy of one-size fits all for medications and therapies varies by patient.”

The program will give community physicians access to diagnostic technology currently only available in academic medical centers, according to Lloyd Dean, president and CEO of Dignity Health, a 21-state network headquartered in San Francisco. Shahzahd Siddique, M.D., chair of Dignity’s Clinical Council of Oncology, told FierceHealthcare in an interview that the Alliance’s offerings will bring state-of-the-art care directly to patients. Precision medicine, he said, is especially useful in cancer care, as different cases of the same type of cancer can have “distinct genomic signatures.”

“We can often targeted these abnormalities and provide personalized therapies that are less toxic and more effective,” he said. “We would like to use these molecular technologies to provide our patients with state-of-the-art therapies in their local communities.”

Damon Hostin, CHI’s administrative vice president for precision health, told FierceHealthcare that there are financial benefits to patients as well because using sciences like genomics can provide patient-centered care options at lower costs. The Precision Medicine Alliance is also connected to the Precision Medicine Initiative, a $215 million government funding project designed to speed up biomedical research and increase provider access to precision medicine tools.