The pipeline of solutions around inherited traits screening, pharmacogenomics, early detection of cancer, biomics, epigenetic and cancer genomics to improvement treatment regimens is as daunting as it is revolutionary. Making sense of the emerging opportunities requires an understanding of the science matched with detailed knowledge of the employer marketplace. Where employer decision-making and recognition of new precision medicine capabilities introduce genuine value for employers is where our focus needs to be.
Employers are interested in helping their employees and plan members understand what conditions they may be predisposed: but only if that information actionable. Genetic testing solutions must provide support, guidance and substantive connection with primary care providers
The paradigm for the development and testing of new drugs is shifting as we increasingly understand how different people metabolize a given drug very differently. Are your plan members benefiting from these new potential efficiencies?
Every week there are new developments in what cancers respond to what type of treatment. For any given cancer type, there are many genetic variations: the promise of precision medicine is greatest for individualizing treatment regimens based on the DNA of cancer cells.
Cancer screening is restricted to four cancer types: breast, colon, cervical and some lung cancers. New technologies now enable us to detect more than 50 kinds of cancers and catch them before they progress to more serious stages.
Our individual risk of opioid addiction depends on a handful of genes. Understanding what combinations of gene variations a person has can pinpoint their predisposition to opioid addiction. This has valuable consequences for many stakeholders.
In addition to the DNA in our cells- there are numerous other environments where genetic and laboratory analysis can give us insights to modifying treatment regimens.
Genetic testing, precision medicine and pharmacogenomics are receiving increased attention from employers. The promise of improved employee health — resulting in lower medical costs, better medical care and improved efficiency — is fueling this interest. New cancer treatment strategies, reduced pharmacy costs and quicker diagnosis of rare and complicated disease is at play, here. As revolutionary new technologies roll into the marketplace, employers will need to continue to monitor what’s available and what it means for their employee benefits offerings.
Employers: Finding the best solutions require understanding the science, understanding the players who provide reputable solutions and pinpointing the value of the solutions. This requires a detailed understanding of the playing field and identification of those precision medicine solution providers who are "employer ready."
Precision Medicine Solution Providers: The employer marketplace is highly nuanced and requires a multi-level understanding of ROI, VOI (value on investment), the broker and consultant channel, medical costs trends for employers, the health and wellness vendor marketplace and the way in which testing must be packaged into operational solutions.
The science of genomics has advanced at a rapid pace, and new discoveries about how these insights impact clinical decision-making are circulated almost weekly. Consumer demand is rising, thanks to regulatory approval for direct-to-consumer genetic testing and resulting media coverage.
Diagnostics will act as an ally for patients through their cancer journey. These tests, now largely offered in silos by different companies, will become increasingly interconnected and analyzed to uncover new insights. Looking decades into the future, these repeat blood tests may seamlessly inform patient management.
Connecting forward-thinking employers with precision medicine solutions that provide genuine value.
Ronald S. Leopold, MD, MBA, MPH