Care delivery is increasingly moving online. Telemedicine or virtual care has been an up-and-coming care delivery method for years, with benefits including improved patient access, experience, and satisfaction.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt business as usual, especially for healthcare organizations, the value of telemedicine is increasingly evident. With telemedicine it’s possible to limit physical contact and reduce exposure to COVID-19, while continuing to care for a wide range of health needs.

Telemedicine and pharmacogenomic testing

While most of the world is focused on the pandemic, healthcare organizations and providers are also looking for ways to continue caring for patients with non-COVID needs. A key part of this involves minimizing the number of in-person visits, as well as freeing providers’ time to care for patients fighting COVID-19. Combining pharmacogenomic (PGx) testing with telemedicine tools can be beneficial.

PGx testing provides valuable genetic information that gives providers insights into how their patient may respond to a variety of medications. Providers can use PGx test results to optimize medication and dosage decisions, based on each patient’s DNA. This may help them reduce medication trial and error and lower the likelihood of adverse drug reactions.

Unlike some genetic tests, PGx testing doesn't involve an invasive procedure (like a biopsy for cancer diagnosis genetic testing) - it doesn't even require a blood sample. A simple cheek swab provides enough DNA for effective PGx testing. That means that PGx tests don’t require an in-person visit; any prescriber offering online care can order a PGx test for a patient and have a DNA sample collection kit sent directly to the patient’s home.

As a partner to the healthcare industry, OneOme offers options to support PGx testing without a provider visit.

When treating individual patients

For healthcare organizations and providers, we’ve developed a streamlined process that can fit into any workflow - whether care is provided in person or not. Providers can easily order the RightMed Test online via OneOme’s secure portal and have a DNA sample collection kit sent to their patient’s home. Providers can access their patient’s test results in OneOme’s portal, and the results can even be integrated into EHR as part of the patient’s record. Even our clinical consults with expert pharmacists are an example of provider-to-provider telemedicine consultations.

When managing populations

The potential for PGx in populations is huge. With more than $500 billion in healthcare spend attributed to non-optimized medications,1 PGx testing is one tool providers have to help optimize medication selection for their patients.

Our virtual approach works well for payers, PBMs, employers, ACOs, and other organizations that manage the health of large populations. Population programs are tailored to each customer and population, with most member-focused services occurring virtually: test ordering and genetic consults through an independent provider network, member outreach and enrollment, and even provider engagement. As such, healthcare organizations can bring the value of PGx testing to their populations with the convenience that telemedicine offers.

Pharmacogenomics today and tomorrow

Precision medicine, including pharmacogenomics, is the future of healthcare. Individualizing treatment plans and tailoring healthcare services to each patient is gaining traction across the medical field. By fitting in with virtual care delivery models, PGx remains a valuable tool today as we try to stem the spread of COVID-19, and tomorrow when telemedicine is more deeply integrated into everyday healthcare.

References

1 Watanabe, JH, et al. “Cost of Prescription Drug–Related Morbidity and Mortality.” Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 2018; 52(9), 829–837.
Julie Hessick
About Julie Hessick