A new report from WEDI, explaining how genomic data could lead to a more personalized approach to medicine, stresses the importance of data quality:
Genomic medicine offers the potential to greatly improve medical practice by tailoring the preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic care available to each patient; however, this potential depends on high-quality data that can be readily accessed and applied in the patient care setting.
In addition to data integrity, health care providers must make other considerations in order to use genomic information for care coordination. For one, genomic data is extremely complex and massive: “a whole genome sequence can take the equivalent of 100 feature length movies or 150 gigabytes of data storage,” the report states. This means that data warehousing must be flexible, sophisticated, and affordable while the data itself must also be interoperable, or accessible on a range of platforms.
The presence of a broad set of genetic information for the health care community (patients, providers, payers and others) to access for shared decision support is no longer a promise, but a reality of the day in which we live. As both cost and access to testing barriers continue to be removed, now, more than ever, is the time for the industry to not only consider, but move aggressively toward a common standard for genetic information exchange.
Also, that interoperability will somewhat address the financial and security issues in leveraging genomic data. Shared protocols mean systems can look at the same data without transmitting it over unsafe or insecure networks, and they can also provide the opportunity for several different providers to access the same data without having to make significant investments in their own IT systems.
All of this to say that more research is needed before the industry adopts such a system, but perhaps the promise of such comprehensive patient data will entice providers to push harder for it.