This is a post by SPM Board Member John Hoben – Business Development Director at Bio-Optronics. Hoben’s passion is reconfiguring medical industrial complex assets and transactions from sickness response to true preventive delivery. This entails focusing on realizing improved health status for populations through unique, individualized approaches.
A funny thing happened on my recent annual primary care physician visit. After selecting a pharmacogenomics (PGx) testing service last year (see The Participatory Approach to Personalized Medicine article for background), I printed the results and brought them along to share with my doctor. A student happened to be shadowing my physician that day. When I told them both about my PGx results and shared the summary sheet, they were both refreshingly intrigued to see the results.
Fortunately, the only medication of hundreds tested, only one came back as a poor metabolizer. Now my physician knows, and the record shows if (God forbid) I have an organ transplant, they know which medication NOT to administer due to being a poor metabolizer. Knowing the electronic medical record software doesn’t accommodate PGx results, I suggested she document in the known medication allergies section which she promptly entered. She also asked if she could save the printout as she was going to “scan and add into the patient portal section” of the record. Her group practice is part of a larger regional health system corporation which sees thousands of patients. When I asked how many other patients had brought in their PGx results, surprisingly (well, maybe not) I was the first.
While my family has the good fortune to have access to flexible medical spending account / other out of pocket resources, some payers and provider organizations are incorporating PGx into standard best practice. For example, what would be the potential additional cost avoidance of an adverse drug reaction as part of an anti-rejection medication? What’s even more applicable is the success PGx contributes with getting patients on the right medication the first time for anti-depressants and other mental health medications avoiding the try and try again prescription patterns often associated with such conditions.