Geisinger Health plans to make DNA sequencing 'routine' part of care

For years, health systems have been searching out the best ways to use DNA sequencing of individual patients to best guide their care.

Pennsylvania-based Geisinger Health announced Sunday it plans to make the testing a "routine" part of preventative healthcare at its facilities. 

The idea is to make DNA sequencing part of its standard screening tests along the lines of the mammograms, colonoscopies and cholesterol checks that are regularly performed on patients to detect disease earlier. Officials said Geisinger patients will be able to work with their family physician to modify their lifestyle and minimize risks that may be revealed, they said.

“Understanding the genome warning signals of every patient will be an essential part of wellness planning and health management,” Geisinger President and CEO David T. Feinberg, M.D., said at the HLTH Conference in Las Vegas. “This forecasting will allow us to provide truly anticipatory healthcare instead of the responsive sick care that has long been the industry default across the nation.”

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Feinberg's announcement came the same day the National Institutes of Health kicked off its "All of Us" precision medicine initiative, which intends to gather genomic data from more than 1 million people across the U.S.