NorthShore Taps Sema4 in Launch of System-Wide Genomics Program

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Doctor's Appointment
[Source: Geber86/Getty Images]

Chicago-area NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) and health intelligence company Sema4 announced today the roll out of a system-wide data-driven genomics initiative aimed at providing patients and their care team with early detection of disease onset.

The program will leverage predictive analytics to provide targeted treatment regimens to prevent and treat diseases at their earliest stages, when they are most treatable. The initial program will focus on using information-rich genomic solutions for hereditary cancer, cardiovascular diseases, pharmacogenomics, and rare diseases provided by Sema4.

Already a leader among U.S. health systems in using genomics to guide care, the strategic alliance between NorthShore and Sema4 will significantly expand on NorthShore’s existing clinical genomics offerings. More than 1,000 physicians and approximately 300,000 NorthShore patients will now have access to Sema4’s offerings.

“Unlocking the power of genomics in patient care requires us to make information available in a way that clinicians and patients can easily act upon over time,” said Peter Hulick, M.D., director of the Mark R. Neaman Center for Personalized Medicine at NorthShore in a press release. “The partnership between NorthShore and Sema4 will allow us to get even better at delivering on the promise of genomic insights to prevent, detect, and manage diseases through one of the largest and most comprehensive personalized medicine programs in the country.”

For this program, NorthShore will use Sema4’s health intelligence platform Centrellis, which incorporates large, structured data sets from providers, health systems, and payers. Sema4 uses these data to develop predictive causal models of disease and wellness that identify optimal therapeutic interventions. In the oncology area, the company offers its Sema4 Signal platform that provides detection of germline cancer and cancer risk, comprehensive profiling in somatic cancer, and clinical trial matching of patients.

Using these tools, NorthShore will have access to disease network models developed by Sema4, which for cancer care can provide a comprehensive view of cancer patients, their tumor progression, and how best to diagnose or treat them.

“By narrowing the significant gap between available biomedical data and health and disease information, we are enabling NorthShore clinicians to make real-time use of the latest insights that allow for highly informed decisions at the point-of-care and improved health outcomes,” said Eric Schadt, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Sema4. “NorthShore has done what few health systems in the country have—brought the potential of genomics from the research labs to the front lines of care.”

The new program from NorthShore will also provide more information about the genetic basis of disease to patients to allow them to better understand their health conditions, while also aiding a program it has launched aimed at addressing disparities and barriers to care. A grant from the Swedish Hospital Foundation, will subsidize genetic testing costs for patients who do not have the financial resources to pay for testing.

NorthShore began offering the program earlier this month exclusively to patients of Swedish Hospital, a State of Illinois Safety Net Hospital located in a federally designated Medically Underserved Area and a member of the NorthShore family. Through the program, the system expects to gain insights about the views of diverse patient populations towards personalized medicine and barriers to receiving genetic information and testing.

“Precision medicine represents the next major transformation in health care, allowing us to predict and prevent disease, to identify the right treatment at the right time, and to empower patients and clinicians to make better choices about health,” said J.P. Gallagher, president and CEO of NorthShore.

“This advanced genomics and health intelligence initiative with Sema4 builds on our long history of pioneering technology and genomic advancements to improve patient care—and aligns with our strong commitment to improving the accessibility of our best-in-class care to address documented disparities in health care services, disease prevalence and outcomes.”

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