3 obstacles to precision medicine from Syapse's new CEO

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Syapse — a San Francisco-based technology company developing precision medicine software for oncology — named Ken Tarkoff CEO in March.

Mr. Tarkoff recently penned an article on LinkedIn sharing his thoughts on precision medicine and what he hopes to accomplish in the field through his new leadership position.

"With the advent of precision medicine and its movement into community medicine, I believe that we now have one of the most extraordinary opportunities we have ever seen to improve cancer treatment and survival at scale," he said.

However, before these opportunities can be achieved, the industry must overcome the following three hurdles, according to Mr. Tarkoff.

1. Scalability. Mr. Tarkoff believes the healthcare industry needs to stop viewing the increasingly popular trends of population health management and personalization as opposing forces.

"It's precisely the integration of these two forces that will define the next generation of healthcare … to deliver personalized care at a population health scale."

2. EHRs. Existing EHR systems are not capable of supporting precision medicine.

"[EHRs] are not designed or equipped to accommodate, manage and analyze complex molecular data to support clinical decision-making," Mr. Tarkoff said. "Similarly, they are not optimized for the clinical workflow and data sharing capabilities needed to offer precision medicine at scale in the community."

3. Patient demand. In five years, patients diagnosed with cancer will expect their physicians to deliver advanced, personalized care, according to Mr. Tarkoff.

"Health systems will have to be able to provide these treatments for in its absence, patients may go elsewhere," he said. "To keep pace, health systems and providers will need networks in place to understand and use the insights from precision medicine."

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