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Jonathan Hirsch: How Syapse Uses Health IT to Implement Precision Medicine

Implementing precision medicine is a complex undertaking that cannot be accomplished without the use of health IT tools, according to Jonathan Hirsch, founder and president of Syapse. He identified the 4 key functions of healthcare IT that allow Syapse to expand access to precision medicine.


Implementing precision medicine is a complex undertaking that cannot be accomplished without the use of health IT tools, according to Jonathan Hirsch, founder and president of Syapse. He identified the 4 key functions of healthcare IT that allow Syapse to expand access to precision medicine.

Transcript (slightly modified)

How does Syapse use health IT to make precision medicine easier to implement?

Syapse is really focused on democratizing access to precision medicine. The first thing that we think about is, what is precision medicine? And we define it as using both the clinical and the molecular data about the patient to figure out the right treatment strategy for that patient. So when it comes to how you actually implement precision medicine, it’s a complex domain. You have to provide a lot of information to the physician at point of care in an easy to use manner so they can figure out a treatment strategy.

So when it comes to using IT to do that, IT is really the force that allows for democratization of precision medicine. It allows all of the physicians in a wide network to be armed with the right information tools to make that treatment selection and to have an understanding of the complex molecular data that they’re dealing with.

What we do in terms of using software and IT to implement precision medicine is 4 key things. The first is integrating data, so we have to pull together both the clinical profile as well as the molecular profile of the patient. And it’s a complex process because we have to deal with electronic medical records, where part of the information sits; we have to deal with molecular testing labs, which may be inside the hospital or health system, or they may be external; but we also have to deal with drug administration systems, with pathology, radiology, et cetera. So it’s a complex data integration process, so that’s the first part.

The second part is decision support. Once you have the information, how do you help the physician actually understand what to do with it? So once you have this complex genetic profile, let’s say a tumor genome profile, you want to notify the physician what are the appropriate drugs, what are the best clinical trials to use, et cetera. So that’s the second part, arming the physician with the appropriate guiding information.

The third part is in the workflow to make this happen, because workflows for things like drug procurement are very complicated. So we have workflows in our software to help the physician, whether it’s the medical oncologist or any other, and the broader care team all coordinate on precision medicine and make their workflows easy to use. A really good example of that is what we do with the Molecular Tumor Board to streamline the MTB process.

And then the final part of this is what we call the learning health system software. Once you start doing this for a number of patients, you begin capturing treatments. You begin capturing outcomes, and you start building a large, robust, real-world evidence database that you can use to help inform the care of the next patients.

So it’s those 4 parts – the data integration, decision support, clinical workflow, and learning health system – that are the IT system to make precision medicine operational.

 
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