Sutter Health, a not-for-profit healthcare network serving more than 100 northern California communities, has been awarded $1.2 million by the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine (CIAPM) to support patients living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and help improve how health matters are targeted and treated across the entire state.
The Sutter Health’s Research & Development team is working together with colleagues from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) on the development of a neurology practice software application, called MS-SHARE, that will be deployed to help improve the precision of MS care, to be used by patients and doctors during office visits, and by patients at home between appointments.
The MS-SHARE app will contain the latest precision medicine research findings, and provide a patient’s electronic health record (EHR) and personal information at the doctor’s fingertips by organizing both patient-reported and EHR data. This will enable physicians and patients to easily view the patient’s health records together and help establish a care plan. Consequently, MS-SHARE potentially may change the way time is spent during appointments by allowing doctors and patients to devote more time to discussing how therapy is working, and how it can be more precisely tailored to meet patient needs.
“In the digital age, we are in a position to take research findings and more quickly apply them in the doctor’s office supporting patients and their healthcare teams today,” said Walter “Buzz” Stewart, PhD, vice president and chief research officer for Sutter Health and MS-SHARE project lead, in a press release. “Through the app, care teams will immediately see what’s working or not working for patients based on the data and evidence. This empowers care teams and patients alike to make informed decisions together with the benefit of the timeliest, most applicable information,” he said.
MS-SHARE is engineered to address limitations experienced with similar apps, and is able to easily add new data sources and updated knowledge as they become available, as well as to quickly scale to new users profiles and locations, thus enhancing the app’s clinical value and potential for positive impact on patient care and treatment.
The Sutter Health network, staffed by more than 50,000 doctors, other medical professionals and volunteers, is dedicated to providing a more personalized, high-value healthcare experience for clients and their families in more than 100 Northern California cities and towns, caring for more than three million clients — nearly 1% of the U.S. population.
During the 18-month joint demonstration project with CIAPM, Sutter Health will build the MS-SHARE app with input from the healthcare network’s doctors and MS patients they treat, with a focus on short-term outcomes, including patient and doctor use of the app and enhancing the patient experience. Long-term goals of MS-SHARE deployment are improvement of patient outcomes, such as slowing disease progression and symptom control.
Sutter Health notes that findings of this innovative project have potential to extend far beyond its primary objective of improving care for MS patients; and help lay groundwork for improved care and treatment of other neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s Disease, seizure disorders and migraine headaches, through provision and support of a precision medicine approach.
Investigative teams receiving CIAPM research funding will collaborate on utilization of data in research, clinical, environmental and population health settings to better diagnose, treat, manage and ideally prevent disease development.
Launched by California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr., in April 2015, the CIAPM is hosted by UC Health and UCSF with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, and received additional funding in FY2016-2017. CIAPM is a partnership composed of the state, the University of California, and other public and private entities aimed at helping build infrastructure and assemble necessary resources to support precision medicine efforts in the state.
Precision medicine is intended to address medical conundrums, such as why people who have the same disease frequently respond differently to the same treatment; what makes many diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, affect racial and ethnic groups in different ways; and why some people with healthy lifestyles still develop conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
By finding answers to questions like these, precision medicine’s objective is to deliver more effective, predictive and precise healthcare.