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HHS considers adding genetic information to EHRs

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adding genetic information to EHRsScientists are beginning to make connections between patients’ genetic characteristics and responses to particular medications. For example, certain breast cancers are linked to the patient’s genes, and those cancers can be treated more effectively now that that connection is understood. The Health and Human Services Department will move to accommodate genetic information in e-health records and research databases if Secretary Michael Leavitt accepts the AHIC recommendations. The American Health Information Community is recommending that the federal government prepare for the day when people will choose to electronically store their genetic makeup so that doctors can match medical treatments to their genes.
One of the recommendations calls for HHS agencies and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to clarify and determine the role that each would play in standardizing pharmacogenetic data. AHIC also recommends that HHS agencies identify the genetic data that EHRs should contain.
The National Library of Medicine, which already has taken a lead role in some HHS work on genetic information, should head the effort to integrate genetic information into EHRs or personal health records, AHIC said.
Another recommendation calls for the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies involved in research to develop best practices for patients to consent to uses of their genetic data.
 “HHS should work with stakeholders, including professional associations representing clinicians, clinical laboratories, pharmacists, and others, to develop a white paper on the opportunities and challenges associated with dispensing pharmaceutical drugs based on pharmacogenomic test-derived interpretations in inpatient, ambulatory, and mail-order services,” AHIC’s letter to HHS’ secretary states.
AHIC’s Personalized Health Care Workgroup, an HHS advisory committee, developed the recommendations. It adopted them with little debate.

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 14 June 2008 00:15 )  

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