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May 10th, 2017

It’s all in your record – helping physicians manage your genomic data, provide personalized care

By Sharon Rosen

Dr. Keith Stewart

Genomic testing offers hope for better individualized therapies to improve your health. One hurdle that may be standing between you and precision medicine is how to integrate the vast amounts of genomic data into your electronic health record in a format that your physician can easily use to guide your care.

Keith Stewart, M.B., Ch.B., director, Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, recently joined other leaders from government and business to discuss the challenges and benefits of managing big data in healthcare at the 2017 Health Datapalooza in Washington, D.C.  Dr. Stewart spoke at a panel discussion, “Genetic Data Movement Through the Health System:  Integrating Data Across Academia, Government and Industry for Research and Patient Access.”

The promise of genomics

Using his own experience having his genome sequenced as an example, Dr. Stewart highlighted the promise that genomic testing will eventually be able to offer all people, including those who are healthy at the time of testing. To illustrate the benefits of genomic testing, he posed these questions:

  • What if everyone had their genome sequenced and all who were at increased risk for cancer could take action by having more frequent screening and making lifestyle changes to reduce their risk or diagnose the disease at an early, treatable stage?  What if we could diagnose cancer using a blood test rather than PET scans, MRIs or invasive biopsies? These tests could help reduce the incidence of cancer.
  • What if every prospective parent knew whether they were at increased risk of having a child with an inherited condition and could take appropriate decisions regarding family planning? This information could reduce the health burden and suffering from inherited diseases.
  • What if everyone knew that their pharmacologic genome (the impact of genetic characteristics on how an individual processes medication) could guide them as to what medications are safe to take or what the appropriate starting dose should be? These results could reduce adverse drug reactions, which are estimated to occur 1.5 billion times each year in the United States.
  • What if the 3 percent of the population who are walking around with a genetically significant condition were aware of these conditions? This data could help improve their own medical care and the care of their families.

Barriers to implementing genomics

Next, Dr. Stewart acknowledged that while genomic medicine offers great promise, there are still many barriers to overcome before it can be implemented into daily medical practice.

As an example of these challenges, he highlighted the barriers to adding genomics test results into patient care. These questions are at the heart of intense efforts at Mayo Clinic:

  • How do you take a complicated diagnostic test like a genome and place that in an electronic health record in a format that the physician can visualize, understand and relate to their patient in a comprehensive, clear manner?
  • How do you move this information between electronic health records so that it is not just a scanned report but a dynamic resource?
  • How can you help physicians learn to use and accept this new technology as a valuable tool to provide better care for their patients?
  • How do you continually reinterpret this information and modify it over time to create a helpful resource as genomic knowledge grows?
  • How do you demonstrate that value derived from genomic tests will reduce health care costs and improve medical care so that insurers will routinely cover genomic testing for patients?

Dr. Stewart explained that Mayo Clinic is taking many steps to address these issues.

“In 2016, we helped 12,000 patients through genetic sequence testing. Each of these tests generates complex data that must be analyzed, stored and made accessible for physicians and patients,” says Dr. Stewart. “We are addressing these issues through ongoing clinical trials and by working with physicians, electronic health record providers and insurers to implement this promising technology.”

The conference provided an important venue to share Mayo’s expertise and experience and learn from others addressing the same challenges.

“At the conference, we had the opportunity to advance the implementation of genomic medicine by educating many of the attendees who will ultimately set the regulations and address the same issues for their own patients,” says Dr. Stewart.

Continue the conversation about precision medicine

Join us at Individualizing Medicine 2017: Advancing Care Through Genomics. The Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, with support from the Jackson Family Foundation, is hosting the sixth annual genomics conference, October 9–10, in Rochester, Minnesota.

Join our community

Follow the latest news related to the conference on the Center for Individualized Medicine blogFacebookLinkedIn or Twitter at @MayoClinicCIM and use the hashtag #CIMCon17

Tags: #electronic medical record, #Genomic data, #Health Datapalooza, center for individualized medicine, Dr. Keith Stewart, electronic health record, mayo clinic, Precision Medicine

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