Hackensack University Medical Center Selected to Participate in the White House Precision Medicine Initiative Summit

February 26, 2016

Hackensack University Medical Center is pleased to announce that Shafiq Rab, M.D., vice president and chief information officer, was selected to participate in the White House Precision Medicine Initiative Summit on Thursday, February 25. The event took place in the South Court Auditorium of the White House and featured a panel discussion with President Barack Obama, as well as other industry experts, patients and researchers.

Launched in January of 2015, the Precision Medicine Initiative has made significant progress toward revolutionizing healthcare delivery. The Administration called on academic medical centers, researchers, foundations, privacy experts, medical ethicists, and medical product innovators to develop new approaches to patient participation and empowerment. HackensackUMC was one of a very select group of organizations that accepted and delivered on this challenge based on the medical center’s strength in healthcare information technology, early adoption and advancement of interoperability standards, as well as its ongoing commitment to patient experience.

“HackensackUMC was proud to participate in the Precision Medicine Initiative summit,” said Robert C. Garrett, president and chief executive officer, Hackensack University Health Network. “Through the work of Dr. Rab and our entire team, we have created an environment throughout our campus that encourages innovation. We have been able to channel this creativity and vision into meaningful products and services that have transformed the way care is delivered by not only our team members and physicians – but most importantly, our patients and their families. We are proud to be part of a larger initiative that will have lasting effects on patients throughout the country.”

“HackensackUMC was honored to accept the President’s call to action to transform patient care,” said Dr. Rab. “Through this initiative, we are focused on developing a single nationwide system that will provide the full picture of a human life. President Obama has recognized the many aspects of a person’s life that affect their care. It is no longer just about treating a patient when they are ill within the confines of a hospital. We must now look through the ‘third window’ of Big Data that provides insight into humanity from every aspect of a human being’s life – from genomics and proteomics, pharmacogenomics, location, medication history, spending, exercise habits, social determinants and mental health to language – in a secure and streamlined system.”

Dr. Rab and the Information Technology team at HackensackUMC have been on the forefront of increasing accessibility for both patient and providers. Dr. Rab added, “By empowering patients to have more accountability and involvement in their care, HackensackUMC is providing the right information to the right person at the right time in the right format in a secure manner.”

HackensackUMC’s Information Technology team is a leader in developing and implementing open, vendor-neutral standards. As part of the Argonaut Project, the medical center was an early adopter of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), a next-generation API-based standard for exchanging health information. FHIR is essentially like a Bluetooth for healthcare, allowing people to share and transmit information, despite the fact that the information may be exchanged from different types of devices. In essence, HackensackUMC is developing a simple mechanism by which the patient has access to and is in control of his or her own data, helping to enable therapies specific to the individual rather than having treatments that are generalized.

Also as part of its commitment to empowering its patients through technology, HackensackUMC recently unveiled HackensackUMC Mobile Access. The new smartphone app allows patients within the HackensackUMC community to access their medical data, search for and connect with HackensackUMC physicians, and even see up-to-date wait times in the Emergency and Trauma Center. Patients can seamlessly register for a doctor appointment by taking a selfie.  The app is available to download for free in the Apple iTunes app store and shortly will be available in the Google Play store.

The HackensackUMC Information Technology team is further enhancing its offerings by developing an app that would give patients complete control over their medical records. The patient would have access to their information and can securely share this data with anyone they choose at any time.

The White House Precision Medicine Initiative Summit was an opportunity for Dr. Rab to highlight the exciting developments taking place at HackensackUMC and share ideas with some of the nation’s most esteemed industry leaders.

“I was truly honored to be among this prestigious group of men and women – who all share the common goal of streamlining care and harnessing the power of technology to put the power in patients’ hands,” said Dr. Rab. “Working together selflessly for a greater cause on a national level, I am confident we can answer the President’s call to action.”

For additional information regarding the White House Precision Medicine Initiative, please access the White House Fact Sheet at https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/02/25/fact-sheet-obama-administration-announces-key-actions-accelerate.