Recently, I was in Memphis with several colleagues for the Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium (CPIC®) Meeting, informally known as CPIC 2019. This is the premier conference for pharmacogenomics (PGx). From the educational sessions and time spent meeting with and hearing from industry peers, researchers, and physicians, three main trends stood out to me:
1. PGx is moving toward standardization.
Right now, there is a lot of variance in how PGx information is reported and categorized. One of the main things I heard throughout the conference is a need for standardization. The PGx testing industry needs this to help providers effectively evaluate PGx information for use in prescribing decisions. While we already have clear operations and analytical validation standards from CLIA and CAP, we still need a standardized framework for clinical evidence and PGx reporting. I’m proud that OneOme has always been a leader in this area, offering a rigorously curated report and test. Having worked in the PGx field for over 13 years and witnessed the industry in its infancy, it is exciting to be a part of this community as we develop the standards that will help us set the bar for excellence.
2. EHR integration is becoming increasingly important.
This year’s CPIC conference had a heavy informatics focus - way more than in years past. It’s clear that as healthcare providers come to embrace PGx, there is a growing need to be able to access this information in patient records. We’ve moved out of the age of paper files, and providers don’t want to scroll through PDFs or read printed reports to find applicable information.
This links back to creating a standardized framework for reporting PGx data. While EHR integration is possible now, each PGx company and/or healthcare organization has their own unique method of incorporating PGx into patient records. Many others have decided to forego this level of integration due to its cumbersome nature. Having universal standards for how PGx data is reported will make it easier for PGx companies and EHRs to add discrete genomic data to patient records. This, in turn, will enhance the ability to provide real-time clinical decision support within the EHR.
3. We need to find the right level of information for PGx reporting
One of the key growing pains in PGx is finding the right amount of information to share with providers. What is important and what isn’t? How much information is enough, and at what point does it become too much?
Scientists and researchers are firmly in the camp that more data is better. Providers, on the other hand, seem to want more streamlined information and guidance to help them make prescription decisions in the time-pressured environment in which they work. PGx doesn’t offer standalone guidance or definitive information on how a patient will react to a specific medication therapy; thus, PGx reporting requires appropriate context. At the same time, we need to take into account provider preferences for streamlined reporting. If we want to see PGx grow and be clinically useful, it’s important to find the right balance.
The PGx inflection point
What all three of these trends tell me is that PGx is at an inflection point. There is an increasing maturity in the market and growing desire from providers to leverage PGx information in prescribing decisions. While we as an industry may not have all the answers right now, we’re asking the right questions, and I’m excited to see what this new level of maturity brings to OneOme and our customers going forward.