Consumers can purchase kits that decode, or sequence, their genomes. Sharing the results with a physician can lead to high-value outcomes:
- Identify current, potential or genetic health risks, such as preventive conditions like cardiac arrest.
- Diagnose diseases, including rare diseases, that traditional medical tests may miss or are unable to identify.
- Understand responses to medicines based on genetics, which could prevent adverse drug reactions.
- Provide early detection of medical conditions and genetic disorders, leading to earlier treatment.
Physicians can use the information from the tests to prescribe any necessary medications, work with patients on lifestyle changes to mitigate health risks, and discuss a preventive treatment plan for any issues.
UNCOVERING MEDICAL DETAILS CAN LEAD TO PROACTIVE TREATMENTS
Genomic and DNA testing have become more popular due to advertising campaigns, people interested in learning about their ancestry and increased press coverage. For example, in 2018, the media featured several stories about how a DNA profile helped law enforcement catch the “Golden State Killer.” The serial rapist and murderer had eluded detection for more than four decades, until police gained a key piece of evidence from an open-source genealogy website.
However, one barrier to physicians recommending and using genomic reports is that they’re unfamiliar with how to apply them to their practice. Keeping up with innovation is a challenge for doctors, and many physicians went to medical school before the first genome was even decoded. As a result, a gap exists between breakthrough medical discoveries like genomic sequencing and incorporating those innovations into a physician’s practice.