Next generation of EMRs may include personal genomics

As if putting medication histories and care plans into EMRs weren't causing enough consternation for doctors and nurses nationwide, wait until you hear what's coming down the pike.

"The vision, as we see it, is that the genome is really a component of the patient's electronic medical record," Richard Resnick, acting CEO of personal genomics firm GenomeQuest said Wednesday, MassDevice reports. Extra work, perhaps, but it's for the betterment of patient care, according to Resnick and other speakers at Harvard Medical School's World Health Forum in Boston.

"In the next two or three years, you'll really see the proof in the pudding. Who's actually doing what. Because it's one thing to talk about it," Scientia Advisors managing partner Harry Glorikian said. "It's a little bit harder," and "doctors don't like it, but if you look at the way health IT systems are being designed, that's the direction it's going.

Glorikian noted that current clinical decision support systems already mine the EMR to warn physicians about how certain treatments might cause adverse effects. "If that's not directing the practice of medicine, I don't know what is," he told MassDevice. "It's supposed to be a guideline. It's not etched in stone, but if you do something that it says you shouldn't, 'What was you medical rational for doing that?'" Glorikian asked.

Resnick took advantage of the occasion to announce a partnership between GenomeQuest and the pathology department at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital to provide physicians with access to GenomeQuest's predictive medicine tools and for both parties to health IT applications that include genomic information from patients who choose to have their genomes sequenced.

"If you integrate [that] into established workflows in clinical pathology, we don't have to invent anything new to handle that," said Dr. Mark Boguski, a Harvard professor of biomedical informatics. "It's just a question of working with the regulators to make sure their are adequate quality standards, that it's all HIPAA-compliant and so forth."

To learn more about this potential evolution of the EMR:
- check out this MassDevice article