As the Obama administration looks to Congress to fund its $215 million Precision Medicine Initiative, a new poll of healthcare executives indicates that most hospitals and health systems are not planning on leveraging such advances in genomics and data analytics to personalize patient care.

In the poll, conducted by analytics vendor Health Catalyst, 59 percent of respondents indicated that precision medicine will not play a significant role in their organizations over the next five years.

Non-academic hospitals and health systems are less likely to expect near-term participation in precision medicine. The survey found that 68 percent of those providers responded that precision medicine will play a "small or non-existent role" in their organization.


Further, 63 percent of those surveyed reported that their organizations had no plans to integrate genomic data into their electronic health record systems. Nonetheless, 50 percent of the survey respondents believe that DNA sequencing—the source of genomic data—could have a positive impact on their organizations' patient treatment strategies.

EHR data, combined with advanced analytics, is seen as foundational to President Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative, which is aimed at treating the specific needs and characteristics of individual patients through personalized treatments. However, the viability of PMI could be threatened without the buy-in of healthcare organizations nationwide, says David Crockett, senior director of research and predictive analytics for Health Catalyst.

"With all the financial pressure these days around reimbursement and reducing waste in healthcare, genetics is probably getting pushed to the back burner at a lot of health systems," Crockett says. "This survey shows that leaders in academic medicine are the ones moving to adopt precision medicine, but the rest of healthcare has a lot of catching up to do."

Not surprisingly, the poll reveals that academic medical centers appear to be embracing precision medicine in a way that smaller, non-academic organizations are not, with 71 percent of academic respondents indicating that precision medicine will play a significant role in their organizations over the next five years. In this industry segment, 64 percent of organizations report they plan to integrate genomic data into their EHRs.

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