Doctors at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C., are laying the groundwork to use genomics for what they laud as the first medical practice of "prospective healthcare."
Initially, the physicians plan to sequence the DNA of selected patients to generate predictive and prognostic data on cardiovascular, hemotologic and infectious diseases and to develop practice models that incorporate individual health planning.
"Genomics can revolutionize our ability to predict an individual's health risks and response to therapy," says Ralph Snyderman, M.D., chancellor for health affairs, president and CEO of Duke University Health System.
The project is a partnership with The Center for the Advancement of Genomics, a not-for-profit genomics policy and research organization in Rockville, Md.
"By incorporating scientific advances, such as genomics, into new models of prospective healthcare delivery, we can improve outcomes while controlling costs," says Sanders Williams, M.D., dean of the Duke University School of Medicine.
The Duke/TCAG collaboration also will examine potential ethical and legal issues, says Jean Jenkins, senior clinical advisor at the National Institutes of Health's National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Md.
Most providers have not been educated to think about how genomics could impact practice, Jenkins says.