EHRs can integrate genomic information to improve patient care

Tools

Electronic health records can help accelerate and advance the use of genomic medicine, as demonstrated in several articles published in a special issue of Genetics in Medicine, the official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics.

The publication, meant as a "getting started" guide for the integration of genomic information and EHRs, includes a series of articles written mostly by members of the National Human Genome Research Institute-sponsored Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) Network, a federally funded consortium of nine institutions that have pioneered the use of EHRs. The authors note that these advances cannot be accomplished without the use of EHRs. The articles cover a myriad of topics, including:

  • The work of the eMERGE network in integrating genomic information into EHRs
  • How to use genomic information in EHRs, such as pharmacogenomics to predict responses to drugs
  • Practical challenges of integration, such as limits in EHR storage capacity of genomic information
  • Ethics, legal and social implications of incorporating genomic information into an EHR, including privacy concerns and the duty to warn family members of potential genetic risks.

"A concerted and collaborative effort involving all groups working on these daunting problems will help to generate solutions that will allow genomics to move into clinical care," the authors write. "We have arrived on the shores of the future, the undiscovered country, and although much remains to be resolved, the future looks so bright we ought to be wearing shades."

EHR clinical support and other tools continue to prove their potential worth in improving patient care across the spectrum, so long as the tools are utilized.  

To learn more:
- check out the special issue

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