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Delivering Precision Medicine with Collaboration and Scale: Q&A with Marshall Ruffin, MD, CEO of Progknowse, Inc.

With HIMSS19 right around the corner, President of Performance Services at Premier, Leigh Anderson, sat down with Marshall Ruffin, MD, CEO of Progknowse, Inc. (d.b.a. as of Oct. 25, 2019 as Salutary, Inc.), to discuss the future of precision medicine.

Anderson: As a Premier partner and friend, we chat often, but others may not know – so tell us about Progknowse and what you do.

Dr. Ruffin: Progknowse is a facilitated network of leading regional health systems that together promote the technologies for precision medicine. We collect data from member health systems in order to build predictive analytics with state-of-the-art deep learning algorithms. We’re also improving access to and affordability of precision medicine by collaborating with clinical researchers and data scientists at leading universities.

We are forming a consortium of participating health systems, constructing a shared platform for predictive analytics, organizing the data scientists to train the deep learning algorithms and pushing the results of the algorithms into the workflow of clinicians and administrators in ways they will find helpful.

Anderson: How many companies like yours will we see at HIMSS and what makes Progknowse different?

Dr. Ruffin: We expect precision medicine and analytics will be a key theme at HIMSS this year. While any smart team of researchers can create algorithms to predict things, Progknowse differentiates itself in two ways – we have access to lots of data and economies of scale.

Let me explain.

  • Access to lots of data – No single health system has enough data to build the best predictive models. Progknowse is working on changing that, and we believe that access to data shouldn’t stand in the way of outstanding patient care. Members of our consortium will benefit from access to charge master insights on more than 200 million patients from the Premier Healthcare Database. We’re also working with Premier to add a standardized and curated set of EMR, genetic, socioeconomic and organizational data from each participating health system.
  • Economies of scale – Through our partnership with Premier, we provide customers with access to a robust clinical database, future access to a network of contracted genetics laboratories (pricing, CLIA/CAP, standard terms, uniform data standards), a ready built technical architecture, and their own data pond. By joining our facilitated network, customers have access to our data scientists, allowing them to avoid the upfront costs of assembling these capabilities. They can also increase the speed with which they can acquire, or build, and deploy their own predictive models.

We’ll be onsite at HIMSS this year, based in Premier’s booth #459 the entire week, for those that want to learn more.

Anderson: What, in your opinion, is the next frontier of precision medicine?

Dr. Ruffin: The discussion around precision medicine has been mostly centered on genetics. The genetics revolution is inevitable as the costs of genetic testing fall and the standards for reporting results of genetic tests are defined.

However, precision medicine is more than genetic testing. Genes are important but the outcomes of care are dependent on much more. Patient outcomes (functional status, most effective treatments, complications, satisfaction and costs, to name a few) depend on their organ function, medications, treatments, the skill of their physicians and allied clinicians, and luck, in addition to genetics. The next frontier of precision medicine is to build predictive models using data on all of these factors. That is what Progknowse is doing – combining these data points to build the best predictive models.

Anderson: How can the healthcare community follow your company’s evolution?

Dr. Ruffin: We invite the healthcare community to join our facilitated network of like-minded healthcare systems that want to lead the cutting edge in precision medicine. They can do so by emailing me (Marshall.Ruffin@Progknowse.com) or by connecting with us at HIMSS19 in booth #459.

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