How Precision Medicine is Unlocking EHRs’ Potential

How Precision Medicine is Unlocking EHRs’ Potential

EMRs help improve patient safety, research, clinical outcomes for 10 neurological disorders

The healthcare IT industry has been vigorously touting President Obama’s precision medicine initiative all year, ever since he announced it in the State of the Union address.

No doubt, IT’s enthusiasm for precision medicine is fueled by visions of extracting even more IT-oriented revenue from payers and providers. The assumption is that great medical breakthroughs are just around the corner.

Some restraint is in order. With the continuing struggle to simply stand up electronic medical records systems and get them exchanging information, the prospect of incorporating human genomic data into the EHR falls into the category of bright, shiny objects of the moment.

But in September, Illinois-based NorthShore University HealthSystem published findings about extensions to the Epic EHR that promise to improve patient safety, research, and clinical outcomes for 10 neurological disorders, brain health risk assessments, and interventions for Alzheimer’s disease. Precision medicine plays a role, and more than 2,000 NorthShore patients have already signed up to participate in a DNA biobank to support the effort.

The study was posted in the Sept. 24 issue of Neurology Clinical Practice, a journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The initial project received funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Most impressively, seven healthcare systems in addition to NorthShore have joined together to form a Neurology Practice-Based Research Network (NPBRN), to share de-identified data and best practices and to help move the state of the art forward that much faster: Dartmouth, University of Pennsylvania, Wake Forest Baptist Health System, Medical University of South Carolina, Ochsner Health System, University of Arkansas, and the University of Nebraska.

continue reading >>>