NorthShore, Color seek 10K primary care patients for genomic testing

By | January 14, 2019

Dive Brief:

  • NorthShore University HealthSystem and Color, a population genomics technology company, have teamed up to offer genomics in primary care in what the organizations are calling the largest program of its kind in the U.S.
  • Dubbed DNA10K, the program will use Color’s clinical-grade genetic testing and whole genome sequencing to help patients understand their genetic makeup, including risk factors for diseases like cancer and heart disease. NorthShore will use the genetic insights to personalize care for each patient.
  • The population health program hopes to enroll more than 10,000 patients. In a two-month pilot, more than 1,000 signed up — or 40% of patients eligible to do so. That beat expectations, according to the announcement.

Dive Insight:

Interest in genomic testing is growing and is likely to continue as consumer awareness of genomics rises and providers look at genetic information to fine tune patient treatments and improve outcomes. With the ongoing opioid crisis and search for alternative pain remedies, Cleveland Clinic named pharmacogenomic testing the No. 1 game-changing medical innovation for 2019.

In May, Geisinger announced it would begin offering patients whole exome sequencing at no cost, in an effort to bring DNA sequencing into primary care. The initiative builds on Geisinger’s five-year partnership with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, which aimed to sequence the DNA of MyCode Community Health Initiative participants. The program, which seeks earlier diagnosis of conditions like heart disease and cancer, has more than 20,000 enrollees.

Cleveland Clinic uses pharmacogenomic testing to predict when a patient may have a low response to an opiate-based pain medication and seek to refill the prescription sooner than prescribed. Boston Children’s Hospital is working with GeneDx and WuXi NextCODE to sequence the DNA of 3,000 people, with the aim of better understanding epilepsy and inflammatory bowel disease.

NorthShore said the collaboration builds on the health system’s expertise in genomics and actionable EHR information. Patients in DNA10K will provide a blood sample for analysis using Color’s lab, and the results will be shared with patients and their providers. Patients will also have access to board-certified genetic counselors and clinical pharmacists from both Color and NorthShore.

“Our experience and expertise in genomic medicine allows us to bring a greater level of understanding and new insight, which leads to deeper and more powerful patient relationships, better outcomes and informed preventative actions for the individual and family,” NorthShore President and CEO J.P. Gallagher said in a statement.

Meanwhile, 23andMe is moving further into health with plans to integrate genetic information into Lark Health’s wellness and diabetes coaching programs.

“Access to your genetic information is really just the beginning — using that information to prevent serious health consequences is the next clinical step, 23andMe founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki wrote in a blog post. “Our collaboration with Lark helps 23andMe customers use their genetic information to take action and make lifestyle changes that positively impact health and wellness.”

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