Two health systems launch largest community-based precision medicine program in U.S.

Two healthcare systems, one in Colorado and one in California, are joining forces to form the Precision Medicine Alliance, which will be the largest community-based precision medicine program in the country.

San Francisco-based Dignity Health and Colorado-based Catholic Health Initiatives, two of the largest health systems in the U.S., launched the program on Monday. The scheme will span nearly 150 hospitals and care centers in the U.S. and serve about 12 million patients, the duo said in a statement.

“The Precision Medicine Alliance will provide community physicians with access to a wide range of diagnostic technology that is currently only available in academic medical centers,” said Dignity Health CEO Lloyd Dean in the statement. “This will provide more accurate diagnoses, with personalized therapies tailored to each patient through community providers, where the vast majority of care happens.”

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Aligned with the national Precision Medicine Initiative, the program’s initial focus will be diagnostic tumor profiling for cancer treatment, according to the statement. It will support oncology research by building a database of what Dignity Health and CHI say will become the largest collection of clinical cancer data amassed by a single organization. Later on, the alliance will move into cancer and cardiovascular risk and pharmacogenomics, according to the statement. The program will also integrate electronic medical records into a data management system to allow for quick access to clinical trial information and clinical expertise, the companies said.

Various players have been executing the PMI’s mission. The NIH launched the Genomic Data Commons in June to promote the sharing of genomic and clinical cancer data. The project benefits from $70 million awarded to the National Cancer Institute to lead cancer genomics research as part of the PMI. Meanwhile, the NIH tapped Verily to co-lead the PMI. It is working with Vanderbilt University to roll out the pilot program, which is aiming to enroll 79,000 volunteers by the end of this year.

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