HackensackUMC Accepts White House Call to Action to Advance the Precision Medicine Initiative

Hackensack University Medical Center (HackensackUMC) announced that it has accepted President Barack Obama’s call to action to improve the interoperability of electronic health records (EHRs) as part of the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative, a new research effort to revolutionize the delivery of healthcare. HackensackUMC is one of a very select group of organizations that has 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.

“On behalf of Hackensack University Medical Center, I am honored to accept the President’s call to action to be part of this groundbreaking initiative to transform patient care by harnessing the power of information technology,” Robert C. Garrett, president and CEO of Hackensack University Health Network, said in a statement to the White House accepting the challenge. “At HackensackUMC, we have been committed to precision medicine, and have been working for several years on genomics and real-time monitoring of glucose, blood pressure, cardiac rhythm and other biomedical information. I am excited that HackensackUMC will be lending its expertise and experience to this national movement to create an interoperable system that is more collaborative while at the same time safeguarding patient privacy.”

Leading this initiative for HackensackUMC is Shafiq Rab, M.D., MPH, vice president and chief information officer, who has been on the forefront of developing and advancing interoperability standards within and across health systems while placing the control in the hands of the patient.

“It is our commitment to provide a delivery mechanism to move the concept of precision medicine into everyday medical practice. We believe the most important person in healthcare is the patient. The patient should have the ability to access his/her information at anytime from anywhere for any purpose – as well as be able to share that information with any healthcare provider they choose anywhere, anytime – without any barriers – securely,” said Dr. Rab.

Dr. Rab and the HackensackUMC Information Technology team have been on the forefront of developing and implementing open, vendor-neutral standards as part of the Argonaut Project. The team is an early adopter of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), a next-generation API based standard for exchanging health information, developed by the nonprofit organization Health Level Seven International.  HackensackUMC is one of the first medical institutions to implement an application using the FHIR protocol, which will offer patients better access to their health information, and more control over when and how they are shared.

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