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Interview: Technological solutions for precision medicine (Includes interview and first-hand account)

In an earlier article on Digital Journal, Kathleen Bosse, who is a Clinical Development Pharmacist explained about the challenges facing pharmacists today and how the pharmacogenomic approach can assist pharmacists and benefit patients,

In a follow-up interview, Bosse discusses a technological solution: OneOme’s RightMed. OneOme works closely with pharmacists around the world. OneOme’s pharmacogenomic testing and clinical decision support tools are intuitive and ready to be implemented into clinical practices.

Digital Journal: We’ve heard about the challenges facing pharmacists and how precision medicine can help. Please can you explain how OneOme’s RightMed pharmacogenomic solution works?

Kathleen Bosse: The RightMed solution combines a pharmacogenomic test with clinical decision support tools that provide additional information designed to help providers make more informed, evidence-based prescription decisions and reduce medication trial and error. The RightMed solution includes the provider-ordered RightMed comprehensive test, the RightMed Advisor (an online, interactive tool which gives providers additional insights into their patients’ results), and several reporting options.

The RightMed comprehensive test is a pharmacogenomic test that analyzes a patient’s DNA to determine how he or she may respond to certain medications. The test covers hundreds of medications for a wide range of medical conditions, including psychiatric conditions, cancer, chronic pain, cardiovascular disease, and more. It analyzes a large set of genes that have been shown, based on OneOme’s rigorous research and standards for inclusion, to affect how a patient metabolizes many commonly prescribed medications.

Included with the RightMed test is the RightMed Advisor, an interactive tool helping to make pharmacogenomic test results actionable for providers. With the RightMed Advisor, providers can quickly and easily interpret test results, access OneOme’s expertly curated pharmacogenomic database, view pharmacogenomic clinical guidelines, evaluate drug-to-drug interactions, explore alternative medications, generate custom reports, and more.

DJ: How did you go about developing the RightMed platform?

Bosse: The OneOme RightMed solution was co-developed and exclusively licensed from Mayo Clinic to bring pharmacogenomics into routine clinical care.

Pharmacist holding a box of medications

Pharmacist holding a box of medications

DJ: How is the data analyzed?

Bosse: At OneOme, data curation and clinical annotations are performed by a team of physicians, scientists, clinicians and pharmacists. The relationships between the medications and pharmacogenes annotated in our database are supported by scientific evidence that meets OneOme’s rigorous criteria for inclusion. Genotype-derived classification of medications is provided as a service by OneOme and is intended solely for use by a medical professional.

Provider considerations are curated by the OneOme clinical development team using sources such as FDA drug label excerpts or professional guidelines sourced from Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium, Dutch Pharmacogenomics Working Group, French National Pharmacogenetics Network) and others. The OneOme clinical development team continuously evaluates scientific literature and professional guidelines to ensure our database is up-to-date.

DJ: Are there any data security concerns?

Bosse: While there are clear clinical benefits to genetic testing, it also introduces new risks to patient privacy, and patients are potentially vulnerable to the misuse of their genetic information. While there are laws that protect patients from health insurance companies and employers using genetic information to discriminate against them, there are still concerns about the use of genetic information to discriminate against applicants for life and disability insurance. For this reason, it’s important that patients only work with companies that are committed to safeguarding genetic information.

At OneOme, we recognize that patients have entrusted us to keep their data safe and secure. To accomplish this goal, we have implemented strict policies, processes, and technologies along with identifying a data security and privacy officer who ensures we maintain a high level of data security.

DJ: How has the pharmacy profession reacted to the technology?

Bosse: We’ve seen an overwhelmingly enthusiastic reaction from pharmacists to pharmacogenomics… Pharmacists are excited to have affordable testing available, and to have this testing paired with intuitive tools to help clinicians interpret results and apply them to everyday patient care. There is a lot of PGx buzz at conferences and forums, and in journals. Pharmacists from a variety of practice settings are searching for the ideal way to integrate pharmacogenomic testing and tools into their practices.

DJ: How about consumers? How have they reacted?

Bosse: We have seen a strong and positive response from patients, who are often asking their doctors for a pharmacogenomic test. To support patients in this conversation with their doctors, we have created a patient toolkit that gives patients the information they need to talk to their doctor about pharmacogenomic testing and the RightMed test.

DJ: Are there any other disruptive technologies likely to affect pharmacies?

Bosse: Integrating pharmacogenomics clinical decision support alerts into pharmacy systems and EMRs could help with the adoption and shift the current medical paradigm from one that is reactive to one that is preventive. Beyond pharmacogenomics, automation and robotics may become more available to assist with medication dispensing. There are also new medication bottles and devices being developed to improve medication adherence.

To read more about personalized medicines and why this topic matters for healthcare, see the Digital Journal article “Why precision medicine is important for pharmacists.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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