Medications and You

By Dr. Holly Carpenter, Ph.D. Aeon Global Health (Guest Writer)

Precision and genomic medicine represent the future of modern healthcare. From identification of disease risk factors to understanding an individual’s metabolism of specific drugs, clinicians now have access to sophisticated testing services to tailor treatments based on a person’s DNA. Genetic testing can help to: discover factors that may increase your risk for diseases such as hereditary cancer; diagnose and develop ideal target treatments for conditions such as diabetes and heart disease; find factors that could be passed to your children; and help your doctor choose the best medication for you.

When your doctor prescribes a medication for you, they generally make their decision based on your age, your weight, your gender, how well the medication has worked with other patients, the cost of the medication, and other factors. How your body responds to that drug and drug combinations can vary based on something else entirely: your unique genomic profile.

Pharmacogenomic (PGx) testing uses a simple cheek swab to tell your doctor how your body will metabolize various drugs. Physicians can use this information to guide treatment decisions, avoid certain medications that your body will metabolize too slowly or quickly, and modify drug dosage to maximize effectiveness and minimize side effects.

Given that adverse drug reactions account for 7% of all hospital admissions, 100,000 deaths and $30-$100 billion in healthcare costs each year*, Aeon Global Health believes there are compelling reasons to include PGx testing as a routine part of treatment planning.

ADVERSE DRUG REACTIONS ACCOUNT FOR 7% OF ALL HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS, 100,000 DEATHS AND $30-$100 BILLION IN HEALTHCARE COSTS EACH YEAR

That’s why Aeon Global Health has partnered with BH Genetic Services and BurstIQ to make PGx testing a core component of employee health insurance benefit plans. Employers can save costs, improve clinical outcomes and increase productivity by ensuring that their employees’ medication regimens are optimized based on each person’s unique genomic profile.

The BurstIQ platform is a critical component to enabling this service. First, the platform uses machine learning to identify who would benefit most from pharmacogenomics testing. The platform then allows employers to offer testing services directly to these people without compromising individual security and privacy. Once a test is ordered, the BurstIQ platform manages the entire data chain of custody, from order processing to delivery of the test results. At each step in the process, the BurstIQ platform allows us to access and share specific data elements without compromising the person’s privacy and security. When testing is complete, the PGx test results become part of a person’s LifeGraphTM: integrated with their electronic medical records, dental records, pharmacy data, digital health apps and devices, and much more. At a basic level, the PGx results can be securely shared with the person’s care team so that medications can be optimized to improve effectiveness, minimize side effects and reduce the risk of adverse reactions. In addition, the BurstIQ platform allows people to gain value from their PGx data by sharing it with researchers working on diseases they care about, using it to personalize products and services they rely on, incorporating it into a HealthScore to access discounts on insurance and other benefits, and many other applications.

THE BURSTIQ PLATFORM ALLOWS PEOPLE TO GAIN VALUE FROM THEIR PGX DATA

At Aeon Global Health, our mission is to lead a revolution in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases by providing healthcare providers with clinically actionable information that promotes patient centric, personalized medical care. We are proud to partner with BurstIQ and BH Genetic Services, two organizations that share our focus on access, patient-centric care, and the power of data in improving health.

*Lee J,W., Aminkeng F., Bhavasar A.P., Shaw K., Carelton B.C., Hayden M.R., Ross C.J.D. The emerging era of pharmacogenomics: Current successes, future potential and challenges. Clinical Genetics, 2014, 86:21–28.

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