Many health system leaders feel that clinician access to a patient’s heritable risks for actionable health conditions is an important step towards being able to eventually provide comprehensive precision medicine.
And yet most organizations that utilize genomics today are still only doing so with a fraction of their population and through very specific service lines like women’s health or oncology. While this is an improvement from years past, employing a limited strategy inherently restricts access, as well as inhibits the broader utility of the data. Instead, if genomics was applied at a grander scale, it could be leveraged to not only improve community health and patient outcomes but generate ongoing revenue for a health system.
Cassie Hajek, MD and Elissa Levin, CGC through Helix have partnered with a number of health systems that are implementing large-scale population genomics programs within their communities. They came together to discuss the difference between these programs from more traditional models, and how providers may want to rethink their strategies for implementing genomics in a more sustainable, scalable and profitable way.
A few of their key takeaways:
- Delivering genetic results in a digestible manner can make all the difference for sustainable, widespread provider and patient adoption.The way genomics is implemented today often results in providers using broad clinical panels that cast too wide of a net of potentially at-risk individuals. This can result in a number of challenges with engaging and creating seamless clinical workflows across a wide variety of specialties. Instead, taking a focused approach that only initially screens for a limited set of conditions that have very clear guidelines-based recommendations – like the CDC Tier 1 genomics conditions for Breast and Ovarian Cancer, Lynch Syndrome and Familial Hypercholesterolemia – can minimize confusion around management of at-risk individuals and help contain unnecessary costs. Leveraging a platform that can then give providers and patients access to even broader insights progressively over time can make adoption of genomics more accessible, and sustainable.
- Gaining institutional and executive wide buy-in for implementing genomics broadly is critical for scalability.Much of why genomics is used in such a limited manner today is that providers typically do not receive the same level of genetics training in medical school and so are often learning how to apply it to their patients on a select, case-by-case basis. Gaining your health system’s executive and leadership support that genomics should be offered more uniformly is critical for an institution to be able to deploy a more standardized and scalable approach that ultimately pays dividends in terms of the patient outcomes improved and community data collected.
- Structuring your genomics program so that it is a cost-effective end-to-end solution ensures profitability.When next generation sequencing initially became available, the cost to offer it to every individual was prohibitive. In recent years, not only has this come down significantly, but health system leaders would also benefit from reframing their view of genomics from a cost center to a potential revenue generator. Implementing genomics broadly results in automatic downstream revenues from the additional preventative care that higher risk individuals require, and can ultimately lower overall total cost of care as providers engage these patients at much earlier, more treatable stages of their conditions. In addition, because these programs can generate broad data and insights about entire communities, they naturally open up strategic opportunities to partner with like-minded research organizations and life sciences companies in the pursuit of precision care.
To hear more from their discussion, watch the full recording on demand now. Please note that this webinar is only currently available for American Medical Group Association (AMGA) members. Feel free to get in touch with our team to learn more.