Last week I had the opportunity to attend the annual Individualizing Medicine Conference, hosted by Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine. In addition to presenting a poster on a study which evaluated the use of preemptive pharmacogenetic (PGx) testing in patients with colorectal cancer, I attended many of the sessions. PGx testing was a central theme of the conference and was widely discussed throughout the event. A week later, here are the top 4 things that stuck with me from the conference:

  1. Prescription decisions still require the expertise of healthcare providers.
    While PGx test results are an important tool that can help healthcare providers in making more informed prescription decisions, they must consider the results in the larger context of the patient. PGx test results are one piece of the puzzle, and the expertise of healthcare providers is still critical when prescribing medications. PGx test results and a healthcare provider’s expertise can be a powerful combination.

  2. Pharmacists are essential to implementing PGx testing at health systems.
    This was perhaps the most consistent theme that emerged throughout the conference. Everywhere I went, people were discussing the critical role of pharmacists and the need for them to be involved in applying PGx test results to patient care. I look forward to seeing how more health systems engage pharmacists in their PGx testing efforts.

  3. Implementation of PGx testing requires time, care pathways, and teams to develop unique solutions.
    Implementing PGx testing is not simple. It is a collaborative effort that requires participation from a variety of practice areas. But with careful planning, time, and support from experts in the field, PGx testing is being implemented effectively across organizations.

  4. It’s no longer a question of whether to implement PGx testing — it’s how.
    One of the most exciting takeaways from the conference was the shift in how we are talking about PGx testing. No longer are we explaining what PGx testing is or why you should consider implementing it. Instead we are seeing organizations focusing on how to deal with the nuances of implementing and how to overcome specific challenges to get started. This is a positive sign that organizations are recognizing the importance of PGx testing and are taking steps to implement it in their organizations.

Were you at the conference, too? Which of my takeaways resonate with you most? What else has stuck with you after the conference? Let me know in the comments below.

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Tyler Koep
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