Color to Collaborate with Sanford Health, Expand Northshore Partnership

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Color Genomics launched its $249 Color Test

Over the space of a few days, precision healthcare company Color announced two separate deals that further its mission of bringing low-cost, data-driven clinical genetics to health systems partners. In the first deal, announced Friday, it partnered with rural health system Sanford Health to further develop its Imagenetics program; and today also announced it has expanded its existing partnership with NorthShore University HealthSystem to include an additional 30 clinics.

With Sanford Health, Color said it will help the health system migrate its Imagenetics genetic medicine program—which it launched in 2014—from using an array-based platform to one that uses next-generation sequencing (NGS) testing. Sanford will further leverage Color’s suite of clinical tools designed to engage patients for broader adoption of genetic testing, while also streamlining clinical reporting within Sanford’s locations in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota.

“Sanford has invested in integrating genomics into routine clinical care to enhance patient care,” said Cassie Hajek, M.D., medical geneticist at Sanford Health in a press release. “This collaboration allows us to enter a more ambitious phase, both in the sequencing technology and the patient experience with the Color platform.”

The Imagenetics program was designed by Sanford Health to directly leverage genetic information into into primary care. Beyond providing testing, the model also offers genetic counseling for patients, and guidance for how to navigate their results. Genetic counselors help people understand the medical, psychological and familial effects of genomics in a disease process.

“Color has helped implement many large-scale genomics and precision health programs, but we are particularly thrilled to partner with Sanford and the Imagenetics program as they accelerate access to genomics in routine care,” said Color CEO Othman Laraki. “Sanford is thinking about how to fundamentally change care delivery through genomics, and together with Color, has a model that other health systems will follow.”

The Imagenetics program will incorporate Color’s Population Health Genomics Platform to:

  • Move the Imagenetics program sequencing from array-based technologies to next-generation sequencing (NGS) to expand the clinical impact of the program;
  • Continue to integrate patient genomic information into clinicians’ day-to-day workflows and Sanford’s EHR;
  • Introduce an updated patient-facing experience and program to help patients enroll, understand their results, and stay engaged with their clinicians; and
  • Continue to ensure that every patient who enrolls in the Imagenetics program at Sanford Health receives actionable information.

With NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore), Color announced that the one-year-old partnership would expand to an additional 30 clinics within the system in 2020, along with its newest partner Swedish Hospital, and would include providing polygenic risk score (PRS) information for type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease to help guide care.

The partners also announced that the program it launched together, dubbed DNA-10K, had reached its target of enrolling 10K patients, with the goal of providing actionable genomic test data that includes risks for cancer, heart disease, and pharmacogenomic information. The partnership incorporates clinical genomic results into patients’ electronic medical records (EMRs), and provides real-time alerts that allow providers to use these genomic insights for enhanced clinical decision making by physicians and providers at NorthShore.

“We’ve built a model of Advanced Primary Care that is transforming the delivery of healthcare,” said J.P. Gallagher, president and CEO of NorthShore. “We’ve seen firsthand that genetic information is a foundational part of healthcare for all patients. Clinically relevant findings provide lifesaving information that physicians can immediately use to diagnose, treat and even avoid diseases.”

According to Color and NorthShore, DNA-10K has received widespread support within the system where it was offered over the past year. Of the eligible physicians, 116 (99%) ordered the test for their patients. In an internal survey of physicians who ordered the test for their patients, more than half said DNA-10K has already provided a direct clinical benefit to patients, and 81% said it would in the future.

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