Poll results and analysis

Do current standards of clinical practice meet the challenges of scale-ability and accuracy of interpretation for genomic testing?

5% Yes

90% No

5% Other

A clear winner on this one. Current standards of clinical practice just aren’t going to cut it. Have we learned anything from asking the question? Probably not. At best, we know that today’s standards aren’t suitable for what’s coming. Anything wrong with that? After all, it’s pretty tough to predict the future, how can you work toward an unknown?

So why is there so much frustration out there right now? You could argue that genomics’ potential to transform healthcare has been known for quite a while now. So what’s the issue here? We have treatments out there today that are delivering on personalised medicine, we’re seeing great strides in prenatal testing, and have seen companies find success with genetic based diagnostic tests – why isn’t the clinic bending over backward to set up for genomic testing?

Personalised medicine is a powerful concept. By nature it is also very specific. A lot of progress being made is of undoubted medical value, but is only relevant for small pockets of the population. The kind of transformation that we’re hoping to see from healthcare is work intensive, expensive and will require a lot of buy-in. Healthcare can be pretty conservative at the best of times (and rightfully so – risk taking and health isn’t always a great combination!), and certainly comes under criticism for being paternalistic.

So is it time to go in and try to change how people think and have gone about their business for decades? Maybe, but that’s a very long term project. If we want to get clinical practice up to the point where it can handle genomic testing, there’s only one way to do that – make it impossible to ignore. The bigger the body of evidence, and the bigger the pool of patients that can benefit, the more compelling the reason to invest in and implement change.