Many hospital CEOs complain that one impediment to launching a precision medical service is that many electronic health record (EHR) systems are not programmed to support a personalized medicine service that uses genetic information and other data
It may be a positive sign of the times for CEOs of hospitals and health systems who are ready to initiate a precision medicine service within their organization. The nation’s biggest provider of electronic health record (EHR) systems and a major gene profiling company will work together to make it easier to integrate genetic test data into the EHR.
Integrating Precision Medicine Metrics into Clinical Care
As precision medicine begins to play a more prominent role in healthcare, one key barrier to making its benefits available to more physicians and patients is the difficulty with integrating precision medicine testing and results into clinical care.
The new collaboration between Epic and Foundation Medicine helps resolve this difficulty by integrating Foundation’s “comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) and other testing services with Epic’s electronic medical record (EMR) system,” the press release states.
“Once completed, all providers who use Foundation Medicine’s instance of Epic will be able to electronically order Foundation Medicine tests within the Epic network. The integration is designed to support oncology practices, academic medical centers, and other health systems by providing easy access to clinical and genomic information in one place to better enable more streamlined clinical decision making,” the press release notes.
According to Epic’s website, the nation’s largest EHR provider serves more than 250 million patients in hundreds of major healthcare systems across the United States and around the world. Though there are other EHR providers, Epic’s widespread deployment in hospitals makes it an ideal platform for facilitating the clinical use of precision medicine testing.
“This relationship will help provider organizations on Epic share information more easily,” Alan Hutchison, VP of Population Health and Payer Strategy at Epic, told the American Journal of Managed Care. “Orders and results from Foundation Medicine will be shared directly in workflow for providers on Epic—without the need for traditional interfaces.”
“In order to bring the reality of precision medicine to more cancer patients, we need to simplify the process for getting oncologists access to the genomic insights they need for targeted treatment planning,” said Kathleen Kaa, PhD, RPh, Interim Chief Commercial Officer at Foundation Medicine, in the press release. “This integration with Epic is one of our key efforts to improve the process for ordering our tests so care teams can focus on providing the best treatment for their patients.”
Partnerships Lead to New Genetic Cancer Assays and Point-of-Care Tools
Foundation Medicine provides testing and genomic profiling that centers around oncology and the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. While this new collaboration with Epic represents a significant step in advancing Foundation Medicine’s technology, it is not Foundation’s first large-scale collaboration.
Almost exactly one year prior to announcing this collaboration with Epic, Foundation Medicine announced a partnership with OneOncology, a network of more than 170 oncology care sites providing community oncology care. This partnership led to the development of new genetic cancer assays and laid the foundation for Foundation Medicine’s ability to explore a collaboration with Epic.
Epic’s recent expansion of its precision medicine offerings follows a growing trend of EHR providers to integrate precision medicine into their platforms. In March of 2021, another large EHR company, Meditech, announced the launch of a new genomic data tool.
Meditech describes its Expanse Genomics as a “groundbreaking, integrated EHR-based solution [that] allows users to receive, store, and present complex genomic information to clinicians in intuitive ways at the point of care,” the company’s press release noted.
As EHR developers increasingly integrate precision medicine into their products, hospital leaders will benefit greatly from these advances. Precision medicine testing and treatments generate additional sources of revenue for hospitals while simultaneously leading to improved clinical outcomes that improve patient satisfaction.
Senior administrators in hospitals and health systems will need to be aware of these changes as they occur to ensure that their organizations are fully leveraged. Healthcare leaders also should track future developments of precision medicine technology in EHRs and plan on how to best integrate these critical updates.
Progress in the field of personalized medicine is accelerating and this collaboration between EPIC and Foundation Medicine is evidence that both companies want to be in the forefront of the precision medicine trend.