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Tips to Improve the Understanding of Precision Medicine at the Executive Health Care Level

April 17, 2020

php logo“I think as an executive of the health system, you really want to define a precision medicine strategy that will guide you through the ongoing evolution and growth of precision medicine as it manifests itself into the current health care systems market,” says Assaf Halevy, CEO & Founder, 2bPrecise.

Podcast Transcript:

Welcome back to Pop Health Perspectives, a conversation with the Population Health Learning Network where we combine expert commentary and exclusive insight into key issues in population health management and more.

Today, we are joined by Assaf Halevy, founder and CEO of 2bPrecise.

Hi, my name is Assaf Halevy. I'm CEO and founder of 2bPrecise. Computer science by education. I’ve spent the last 20‑something years in medical informatics and digital health, mainly the population management areas, both in the United States and beyond. I’m currently running a precision medicine solution.

I think molecular testing is, as it evolves and continues to grow and mature, allowing health systems to be way better and ahead of the curve in the ability to predict, prevent, diagnose, and treat different patients – or, I should say, specific cases of patients in a way more accurate, more efficient manner, as well as to achieve faster, efficient results for those treatments.

If you will, I think the importance of conducting those molecular tests is really to help physicians. II know they're doing this thing already, but it helps them to fight the disease with a guided missile, so to speak, versus a carpet bombing kind of approach. Also once again, something that they tried to do already, but it will significantly help them to treat the patient with the disease versus the disease of the patient.

That's, I think, an important point as healthcare evolves into the future of medicine.

I think there are many different use cases in which molecular testing can help better optimize and improve care. For example, medication safety and the ability to reduce toxicity and side effects. Another benefit can be time‑to‑outcome or time‑to‑impact, if you will.

How fast can we get to the level that we are accurately treating this patient, or how fast can we accurately get to the right diagnosis?

I think there is a treatment efficiency and efficacy benefit to it. I also think that health systems can definitely benefit from using precision medicine and molecular testing specifically for a competitive advantage compared to other health systems, which are not yet operating with precise care capabilities.

I think first of all, best practices is a tough term because I think what we see in the precision medicine space today is yet an inconsistency and educational challenge, or I should say gradual improvement towards understanding what the best practice is.

In general, I would say a health system should look at molecular testing through the lens of, “What are the right cases to which a molecular test can help or apply?” They should understand the science all the way from the genomic side to the clinical...not only the phenotype but actually the clinical action or potential action that can derive from it.

They need to understand the clinical value in a way that it's usable ‑‑ that this potential clinical value that they can get out of the molecular test is, indeed, well defined and clear to the clinical decision‑maker. Finally, they need to have the ability to look at the molecular test selection such that the meaningful result of it is available and accessible in a usable way for the next clinical decision with the next patient or the patient in front of them, I should say.

2bPrecise, being a precision medicine platform, as we are, is basically a one‑stop shop that thinks about enabling precise care and research in creating a translation of cross‑clinical-genomic information –the intersection of clinical information and the genomic information – and be able to create a bridge that will inject it back to the point of care in a clinical, actionable, meaningful kind of way.

It's a platform that allows candidate management, pedigree management, medication safety and pharmacogenomics optimization, somatic results, and germline results processing and the ability to integrate many of those into the point of care.

When you ask about the point of care, the main challenges, I think, that physicians have are basically, “What tests should I order?” and “Which cases should I do it” For which patients?”

“Is it meaningful for me as a physician enough to understand what are the clinical findings that are derived from the genomic result and molecular results. And can I bring it back into my workflow such that I can keep working with it and analyze it and use it in my normal environment or regular environment that I operate in right now?”

For 2bPrecise, as an example, but I should say in general for health systems, the ability to define which patients and what information for these patients should be surfaced at the point of care and when is key – o not overwhelm the physicians. (It’s) key to provide them with meaningful value, with a one‑click‑to‑value kind of user experience integrated into their existing EHR or existing clinical workflow with the sensitivity to not overwhelm them with "Here's another ocean of data for you to consider as you keep trying to help this patient or the next."

I think in many cases, many people that we talk with, we see that first of all, there's a gap in understanding at the executive level. What exactly is going on already in the organization? They see, when they start digging, they find different pockets of activities: molecular tests are ordered in this lab, some are ordered in this department and kept over here or saved over there, and there's no cohesive plan around it.

I think tip number one is really, first of all, understand the precision medicine current state of your organization and find the pockets of excellency or innovation as they're naturally evolving, if you have some. That's number one.

Then I think as an executive of the health system, you really want to define a precision medicine strategy that will guide you through the ongoing evolution and growth of precision medicine as it manifests itself into the current health care systems market.

Part of it is really to understand an omic‑based data management strategy. How do you store, manage, use genomic information across the board, molecular tests included, such that you can really manage it from top to bottom, so to speak, in your organization for a long‑term thing? That's tip number three.

I would say there are a few more things really quickly, which is maybe having a clinical leadership, a clinical champion, that will drive using and applying those strategies that I just talked about to the operational tactical level and environment. Such that you do have executive clinical leadership guiding this in your health system as well as capitalizing on the existing pockets of excellency and innovation, as I said, in which maybe some clinicians are doing some things already in their own local environment. You should capitalize on that and bring it all up and forward such that it can expand and grow in the health system to all other clinical use cases that are applicable.

Finally, you need, I think, to move now ‑‑ that's even the most important tip, which is, precision medicine is coming. In many cases, your patients are ahead of you. People go and buy online molecular tests, genomic tests. Consumers are interested in their genomic signature and translating that to, what does it mean for their health?

As a health system, you want to stay ahead of the curve and move now so you're prepared to treat those patients to the level that they expect as well as to be able to answer and address their questions when they're coming with them, because this is happening already.

I touched on the 2bPrecise value proposition a little bit.

While we are a precision medicine enterprise platform that offers a relatively narrow and vertical clinical use case of implementation of precision medicine,  at the same time we offer the ability to go and expand across multiple clinical use cases in a health system. We see many clinical examples and success stories, in which many of the things that we just talked about are actually demonstrated in behavioral health, in cardiology, of course in oncology and cancer, and in pedigree management, and many other cases.

I think aside of us offering a solution that can help health systems to do those kind of things, I invite people to collaborate with us and share their experience, share success stories, or come and listen to what other people, other health systems, are doing in this space.

We are facilitating and encouraging this bidirectional dialogue between health systems that are already doing those kind of things versus health systems that are considering or interested in going in the same direction.

We are definitely interested in helping ‑‑ showing the way, so to speak ‑‑ for people to go and execute and implement those kind of approaches. You have to.

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