Precision medicine enablement is critical to today’s enterprise laboratory information solution

by | Oct 18, 2018 | Blog, Molecular News, What's New

For medical laboratory leaders, a key operational question has quickly evolved from, “should we do precision medicine?” to “how can we do precision medicine right?” As the medical lab evolves toward “Lab 2.0”, functioning as a healthcare strategic asset, it has become increasingly clear that precision medicine adoption is evolving too, to become part of the standard of care. Forward-thinking medical labs are beginning to work precision medicine into their services (if they haven’t already), which brings greater focus onto the need for a flexible, scalable laboratory information solution that meets the multiple needs of a high-functioning lab.

Precision medicine is now

In recent years, precision medicine headlines have abounded, rich with the promise of customized diagnostics and treatments as part of future care. Today, expert leaders and subject matter experts indicate that that time has come. “Pretty soon precision medicine may be considered the standard of care,” said Nephi Walton, MD, Assistant Professor of Genomic Medicine at Geisinger Health System, according to a recent Healthcare IT News article. Leading healthcare IT insight company KLAS Research decided to focus on precision medicine this year, publishing a 2018 Precision Medicine Vendor Validations Report that says, “given its potential to help providers deliver better, more targeted care and dramatically improve patient outcomes, precision medicine is a growing area of interest for many provider organizations.” It went on to identify a select few software vendors garnering “high mind-share among providers”, including Sunquest Information Systems.

Competing challenges, How can labs keep up?

So as today’s medical lab works to progress, while no doubt continuing to face hard challenges including reimbursement and fee cuts, interoperability among multiple systems, and test utilization, how can they meet these pending needs while at the same time positioning for future growth and demand? The answer lies, in large part, by investing in enterprise laboratory information solutions that help solve for a multitude of issues at stake while driving efficiency, accuracy, and ultimately, high-volume high-quality care.

An enterprise-wide information approach

A recent Sunquest white paper covered “What Healthcare Systems and Medical Labs Need to Do Now” to thrive in an era of change. In this paper, we discuss how Sunquest’s healthcare technology solutions work together to break the mold of a traditional LIS vendor, offering infrastructure to support a truly inter-disciplinary lab. Cost-effective, and able to efficiently integrate with other suppliers and vendors that a lab may already have engaged, the Sunquest solutions make a direct impact across many of the laboratory pain points discussed here within, such as:

  • Fee and reimbursement cuts
  • Healthcare mergers and acquisitions
  • Over-, mis- and under-utilization
  • Interoperability
  • The rise of precision medicine

Diving into the precision medicine component as an example will be the focus here. What are some of the key issues associated with starting or scaling a precision medicine program in the lab? For one, the workflow complexity of molecular testing – which is rife with multiple steps, expensive materials, rapidly changing protocols, and of course, essential to some of the most serious conditions patients face, including rare diseases and cancers. Secondly, next-generation sequencing (NGS) creates an explosion of data and information that needs to be managed and assessed in a timely, accurate, and actionable fashion. The Sunquest suite of solutions addresses these needs with:

  • A purpose-built molecular LIMS that includes multiple workflows, deep audit trails, and vendor-agnostic instrument connectivity
  • Genetic analysis/variant assessment support software to make sense of the wealth of NGS-produced data and deliver actionable clinical reports

A recent article in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics uncovered the deeply concerning fact that most laboratory information systems in place today lack basic functionality for molecular testing (this testing is critical to precision medicine diagnostics). Authors went as far as to say basic functionality is “glaringly absent” in today’s systems that are being used for molecular work. The paper went on to detail capabilities it found lacking – a great comparison list to hold to our molecular LIMS, which we found solves for virtually all elements the authors found lacking.

With about 75,000 genetic tests currently on the market, and about 10 new tests launching each day (Health Affairs), labs will simply not be able to do precision medicine, let alone keep up with its rapid pace, without taking the help of a leader in lab software. Sunquest Information Systems, with unparalleled experience, depth and breadth in the laboratory space, is ready to support labs in getting to the next level.

We invite you to download the What Healthcare Systems and Medical Labs Need to Do Now white paper or contact Sunquest to learn more about how we can support your precision medicine and other Lab 2.0 endeavors.

About the author

Kiran Ganda

Director of Product Marketing, Precision Medicine

Having worked exclusively in health technology organizations for more than fifteen years, Kiran is passionate about innovations in patient care.

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