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The Impact of Genomics on Healthcare and Medical Research
Published Apr 20, 2022

Genomics are a critical tool used in healthcare and medical research. On October 6, 2021, Tamara Burke and John Turner presented SHG findings on genomics and how they can be used in the future. Genomics is the study of the structure, function and inheritance of the genome, or the intact set of genetic material of an organism. A critical aspect of genomics is analyzing the genomic DNA of an organism. Whole-genomic sequencing (WGS) is a method used for analyzing entire genomes, which has led to groundbreaking discoveries in identifying disorders, characterizing mutations, and tracking disease outbreaks.

The objectives for this research were to better understand physicians’ current and expected use of genomic testing and identify the potential impact on individual healthcare. Additionally, researchers wanted to explore how genome sequencing could affect how medicine is practiced. To conduct this research, a 6-minute online survey was distributed to a mix of Oncologists (ONC) and General Practice physicians across Europe and the United States.

This study showed that two-thirds of physicians are currently using WGS, while primary care physicians (PCPs) are more likely to recommend it, oncologists use WGS more because of the benefits it has for cancer patients’ care. Over 90% of ONCs were likely to recommend WGS for reasons such as disease risk, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Only 15% of ONCs would not recommend WGS because they do not have access to it or know how to utilize the results.

PCPs commonly use WGS for early-risk detection, so overall patient numbers are low. ONCs are using WGS more for exploring treatment options. One physician said. “It is a useful tool for a doctor, because they allow to predict the risk of recurrence and, therefore, to exclude chemotherapy in addition to hormonal therapy, avoiding unnecessary toxicity with resource savings.”

Doctors are concerned about incorrect interpretation of data but anticipate that WGS will become an increasing part of preventative medicine in the future and a part of standard care within 10 years. While the main concern from physicians was incorrect interpretation of data, other concerns include discovery of an ill-fated medical future, lack of regulation, anxiety from new information, and privacy of genetic data.

The goal of this research was to understand how genomics and whole-genome sequencing is being used currently and the direction that it is moving for the future. Genomics allows healthcare professionals to make decisions regarding their patients’ care in an evolutionary way. For more information on the future of genomics, get the complete report to explore our findings.

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