Precision Medicine Implementer's Guide - Cover

Precision Medicine Implementer's Guide

Precision medicine has the potential to personalize healthcare like nothing before, but its complexity and high costs can leave provider leaders shaking in their scrubs. Health systems need someone to show them how to get started. Thankfully, there are pioneers who are willing to share their ideas on creating a successful precision medicine strategy.

One forum for these pioneers was found last month in Chicago. KLAS and NorthShore University HealthSystem co-hosted a unique gathering of 56 provider leaders, 20 vendor leaders, and others. I was grateful to be involved in this groundbreaking precision medicine summit: buildpm19.

This event wasn’t meant to be a closed-door discussion. The attendees’ perspectives were so valuable that we chose to incorporate them into the newly published Precision Medicine Implementer’s Guide. Now every interested party can feel like a fly on the wall at the precision medicine summit.

What Did Attendees Discuss?

The first question asked at buildpm19 had more responses and energy than any other question asked throughout the summit: “In one word, what is the biggest roadblock to the adoption of precision medicine?” The attendees’ answers are represented in the image below, with the most common answers in the largest font:

Precision Medicine Word Cloud

As you can see, reimbursement was reported to be the biggest challenge. Providers at the summit shared some of the best ways to overcome reimbursement problems and get the necessary help from payers.

Attendees also couldn’t forget about the biggest stars and beneficiaries of precision medicine: the patients. As one provider put it:

“What is the value to the patient? Patients have to see value, or the [precision medicine] program will fail. . . . Patients need to be engaged throughout the process, and they need to be motivated and willing to move forward.”

The other topics discussed at the summit ranged far and wide, and I could never do them justice in a blog post. That’s one reason we created the Implementer’s Guide.

What’s in the Guide?

The Implementer’s Guide is chock full of the latest and greatest information experts have about making precision medicine a reality. Here are some of the things you can expect to find:

  • Organizational Requirements.As KLAS has learned time and time again, the greatest key to an organization’s success in any endeavor is the organization’s culture. But what does an effective culture look like? Summit provided great answers in their advice about establishing strong governance, understanding reimbursement, and engaging with patient populations.


  • Technical Requirements. Some health systems may be wondering whether their IT side could even support a precision medicine program. The guide discusses what the buildpm19 attendees agreed are critical pieces to consider on the technical end, including services capabilities, data sharing, and collaboration with third parties.


  • The Role of the EMR. In a pre-buildpm19 survey, KLAS had found that many providers don’t think the EMR will play a significant role in precision medicine. Some summit attendees didn’t necessarily agree. In the guide, leaders from Allscripts, Cerner, Epic, and InterSystems share their thoughts on things the EMR is and isn’t likely to do in the area of precision medicine.


  • Case Studies. The bulk of the guide (and my favorite portion) is devoted to case studies from eight of the provider organizations represented at buildPM19. Each case study includes key takeaways, what the organization did, planning and processes, best practices, pitfalls, scaling efforts, and impactful drivers.

How did pioneering organizations handle a lack of reporting standards for precision medicine? What kind of infrastructure does a precision medicine program require? What gaps and potholes do precision medicine experts anticipate as the space matures? These are just three of the many questions addressed in the guide.

A Big Thank You

I want to give my thanks and commendation to the provider organizations who attended buildpm19, particularly those that contributed the case studies. Those organizations include Geisinger, Mayo Clinic, Moffit Cancer Center, Nationwide Children’s, NorthShore University HealthSystem, Rady Children’s Hospital, University of California San Francisco, and University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Precision medicine is already saving lives. The face of healthcare will continue to change for the better as more and more organizations follow in early adopters’ footsteps. I invite you to get a good look at those footsteps by accessing the entire Precision Medicine Implementer’s Guide here.

Photo Cred: Shutterstock, Alexander Raths