Obama puts precision medicine on radar

Obama puts precision medicine on radar

The White House has announced that as part of its nearly $4 trillion 2016 budget, it will carve out a sizable piece for a new initiative dedicated to precision medicine, which officials say will even include interoperability standards.

The Obama Administration will put aside $215 million of the 2016 budget for what’s being called the Precision Medicine Initiative, a project White House officials say will “pioneer a new model of patient-powered research.” By funding various genomic and information technology projects, the initiative is expected to accelerate innovative and individual approaches to disease treatment and prevention.

Four federal stakeholders will receive the lion’s share of the funding, officials pointed out – one of those being the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

The initiative calls for allocating $5 million to ONC to support the development of interoperability standards that many in the healthcare industry have been calling on in recent months. This past week, ONC released a draft interoperability roadmap, calling for national standards by the end of 2017.

The “time has come for us to be more explicit about standards,” said ONC Chief Karen DeSalvo, MD, in a Jan. 30 press call detailing the roadmap, a more than 150-page document addressing everything from governance, standards and certification to privacy and security.

The Precision Medicine Initiative will also allocate $130 million to the National Institutes for Health for the development of a voluntary national research cohort of one million or more volunteers to propel our understanding of health and disease and set the foundation for a new way of doing research through engaged participants and open, responsible data sharing.

Another $70 million will go to the National Cancer Institute for genomics work relating to cancer treatment.

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