Pharmacogenetic testing is becoming the new frontier in precision medication. It provides critical guidance to physicians when determining the most appropriate therapeutics and optimal dose of medications tailored to each individual patient. Despite the clear benefits of PGx, few health systems have implemented it as there are quite a few hurdles to overcome: convincing insurers to cover the cost, providing rapid turnaround of test results, and collecting more data on the cost effectiveness of a PGx testing program.
Avera Health, a health system in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is finding solution to such challenges. Avera Health’s largest hospital, 545-bed Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center in Sioux Falls, performs pharmacogenomic testing on surgery patients to determine how well these patients metabolize opioid pain medications, according to TDR Insider
“Pharmacogenomic Testing a Success at South Dakota Health System” (Jan 2017).
For rapid turnaround of the testing, the lab performs genotyping and enters the data into the EMR so that the physician knows how the patient metabolizes medications in a timely manner. Such quick results lead to patients having the appropriate medication within 24 hours and to more data which can be presented to insurers. Our administration recognized the potential of pharmacogenomic testing to improve patient care and to reduce costs through quicker treatment success and fewer adverse effects,” said Krista Bohlen, PharmD, the Director of Personalized Pharmaceutical Medicine at the Avera Institute for Human Genetics. our laboratory reports the test results, then physicians follow the dosing guidelines published by the Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium (CPIC) and Pharmacogenetics Working Group of the Royal Dutch Association for the Advancement of Pharmacy,” Bohlen said. “In addition to these guidelines, we also evaluate primary literature.”