Genomics

NorthShore and Sema4 Launch System-Wide Genomics Program

NorthShore University HealthSystem

Organizations commit to expanding the impact of genomics and advanced health intelligence among diverse populations to address disparities in personalized health

NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) and Sema4, a patient-centered health intelligence company, today announced the availability of a system-wide data-driven genomics program that utilizes predictive analytics to help clinicians and patients prevent, detect, and treat diseases at an early stage, when they are most treatable. As part of the program, NorthShore clinicians and patients will have access to Sema4’s industry-leading, information-rich genomic solutions for hereditary cancer, cardiovascular diseases, pharmacogenomics, and rare diseases.

“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, MD, director of the Mark R. Neaman Center for Personalized Medicine at NorthShore. “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.”

Advanced Clinical Offerings

By combining clinical information with genomic analysis, Sema4’s technology platform structures and evaluates data sets to draw insights on how genetic variants will impact patients’ chances of developing disease and to determine the most appropriate treatment options, helping their doctors administer more personalized, holistic care plans. NorthShore will have the opportunity to benefit from disease network models developed by Sema4. For example, disease models for cancers will provide more comprehensive views of cancer patients, their tumor progression, and how best to diagnose or treat them.

Amidst the pandemic, as evidence reflects people are delaying preventative care, these more personalized genomic insights are particularly relevant in helping patients and physicians make informed decisions about prioritizing care.

“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, PhD, Founder and Chief Executive Officer 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. Through the implementation of Sema4’s innovative health intelligence platform in a clinical-care setting, we are together advancing industry standards.”

Improved Patient and Clinician Experiences

In addition to guiding clinicians, the program makes it easier for NorthShore patients to understand the implications of genomic findings. Novel digital tools and resources will uncover personalized insights that shape the care of multiple conditions throughout the lifetimes of patients. Patients also have an opportunity to consent to share de-identified data to improve research programs focused on expanding the understanding of genomic-guided care.

The strategic alliance between NorthShore and Sema4 will significantly expand on NorthShore’s existing clinical genomics offerings, which were already the largest in routine primary care in the U.S. More than 1,000 physicians and approximately 300,000 NorthShore patients will have access to Sema4’s offerings.

“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 Chief Executive Officer 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.”

Addressing Disparities in Care

Due to NorthShore’s intentional focus on increasing access to advanced clinical programs, the program is launching in conjunction with an investment to engage culturally diverse communities. In addition to understanding and addressing barriers to access, NorthShore, via a gift from the Swedish Hospital Foundation, will subsidize genetic testing costs for patients who do not have the financial resources to pay for testing.

Earlier this month, NorthShore began offering the program 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.

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