NIH Bringing Precision Medicine Initiative’s Data Collection to Patients’ Homes

April 7, 2017
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is collaborating with EMSI, a mobile specimen collection company, to engage thousands of direct volunteers in their homes in order to collect biological samples and health data as part of the Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort and the All of Us research program.

For its ambitious All of Us program, formally known as the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Cohort, the National Institute of Health (NIH) aims to collect biological samples and genetic data from one million or more patients to enable data analytics and precision medicine research.

The data collected from patients may allow researchers to develop more precise treatments and prevention strategies for many diseases and conditions.

The NIH is collaborating with EMSI, a mobile specimen collection company, to engage thousands of direct volunteers in their homes in order to collect the biological samples and health data.

While some volunteers will join through participating medical centers, others who do not receive health care at those sites will be able to enroll as "direct volunteers" through the research program's online enrollment portal. EMSI has been chosen to collect data from selected hard-to-reach direct volunteers in their homes. Enrollment is expected to begin later in 2017.

"Our mobile phlebotomy, medical and health data collection services will extend the reach of the research team and lessen the burden on participants, while our national coverage will help researchers engage study participants who are homebound or far removed from partner sites," James D. Calver, CEO of EMSI said in a statement.

While the collaboration with EMSI will provide more convenience for some volunteers wanting to participate in the NIH’s PMI cohort program, the initiative also enables NIH to reach diverse patient populations, including those who lack access to transportation or who infrequently use the healthcare system.

EMSI will manage the at-home visits and sample collections from beginning to end. EMSI will train local staff, deliver supplies, schedule at-home visits with participants, report biometric data, and collect and ship specimens according to strict program protocol, according to an EMSI press release.

EMSI was chosen by The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) to join its group of partners enrolling direct volunteers. The direct volunteers outreach effort is being led by the Scripps Translational Science Institute, an affiliate non-profit research organization.

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