Geisinger to perform DNA sequencing as routine care
Geisinger will soon roll out DNA sequencing as part of its preventive care for patients, the integrated health system said Sunday.
Over the next six months, the Danville, Pa.-based system will enroll 1,000 patients in a pilot program recommending DNA sequencing as part of routine clinical care. Eventually, Geisinger said it will provide clinical DNA sequencing across its Pennsylvania and New Jersey footprint.
"Understanding the genome warning signals of every patient will be an essential part of wellness planning and health management," Dr. David Feinberg, Geisinger's president and CEO, said at the HLTH Conference in Las Vegas. "This forecasting will allow us to provide truly anticipatory healthcare instead of the responsive sick care that has long been the industry default across the nation."
In a release, the health system said DNA sequencing would become a "routine screening" like mammograms, colonoscopies and cholesterol checks for its patients. Physicians will work with their patients to respond to any genomic risk factors found.
The pilot will build off of Geisinger's research-focused genomic initiative, known as the MyCode Community Health Initiative, which started in 2013. So far, Geisinger has alerted more than 500 patients that they have a genomic variant that increases their risk of developing early cancer or heart disease. That amounts to 3% of the more than 200,000 patients enrolled in the DNA sequencing program.
But David Ledbetter, Geisinger executive vice president and chief scientific officer, believes 10% to 15% of patients could benefit from the expanded program as they find more genomic variants.
"Sequencing the known functional parts of the genome for our patients is becoming a clinical reality, not just as a diagnostic test for patients who present with particular symptoms, but for all patients in the communities we serve," Ledbetter said.
Geisinger's plan comes just days after the National Institutes of Health said it would launch its own research initiative to gather the DNA of 1 million people across the country to advance precision medicine.
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