Avera Health Taps Sema4 for Advanced Precision Oncology Program

Sioux Falls, SD-based Avera Health, which runs 35 hospitals, 215 primary and specialty care clinics, 40 senior living facilities in South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Minnesota, have announced a collaboration with health intelligence company Sema4 with an initial focus on advancing Avera’s precision oncology program.

Managed through the Avera Cancer Institute, the deal with Sema4 will leverage the company’s Centrellis health information platform to curate, structure and integrate clinical and genomic data to support both cancer research and clinical care. Avera has run a successful precision oncology program within its network for a number of years, but sees the addition of Sema4’s data-drive approach to care as its next step in advancing its program.

“Avera Health has a longstanding commitment to genomics and personalized medicine, and a forward-thinking approach to understand the critical role it plays in generating better health outcomes,” said John Lee, M.D., chief medical officer for Cancer Research at the Avera Cancer Institute in a press release. “Our collaboration with Sema4, and the resulting access to curated and structured real-time oncology data, will allow our providers to leverage cutting-edge tools that will improve the delivery and quality of cancer care. This access to increasingly rich clinical data throughout the patient journey will also accelerate critical, lifesaving treatment options.”

In addition to providing predictive disease network models and clinically actionable insights, Sema4 will also offer an array of digital tools, to allow Avera’s clinicians to search for cohorts of patients based on clinical criteria, view a patient’s treatment history that is contained in the curated data as an interactive timeline, and match patients to clinical trials.

A central part of the collaboration will be in providing Avera Health patients with access to early genomics testing after diagnosis with the aim of arming the oncology care team with information on more precise forms of treatment based on each individual’s molecular profile, the genetic mutations present in their tumor, as well as information about their hereditary risk.

“Our collaboration with Avera Health will accelerate discoveries which help oncologists provide optimized care to individual cancer patients in real time,” said William K. Oh, M.D., chief medical science Officer at Sema4, in a prepared statement. “Avera Health shares our vision to use clinicogenomic data to improve patient’s lives.”

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