ONC announces five pilot sites for Sync for Genes program

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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has announced five pilot sites that have been selected for their involvement with different facets of genomic data as part of the recently launched ONC-funded Sync for Genes program designed to help bring clinical genomics to the point of care.

The five Sync for Genes pilot organizations and their respective focuses are:

  • Counsyl with Intermountain Healthcare (Family Health History Genetics)
  • The Food and Drug Administration (Sequencing Quality and Regulatory Genomics)
  • Foundation Medicine with Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Somatic/Tumor Testing)
  • Illumina (Next Generation Sequencing Solutions)
  • The National Marrow Donor Program/Be The Match (Tissue Matching)

Gil Alterovitz, who leads the Sync for Genes effort and is a professor at Harvard Medical School’s Computational Health Informatics Program/Boston Children’s Hospital, says each of the five pilot groups represent distinct use cases in precision medicine.

“We’ve made incredible progress just in the last few months,” adds Alterovitz. “It’s really wonderful to be able to move forward and gather these valuable insights from real-life settings. As ONC’s Jon White has called the pilot groups, these are the ‘real heavyweights’ in this field.”

“Feedback from the pilots will used by Sync for Genes to ensure the development of open source validation scripts and implementation guidance documents to support needs in the field of genomics for others to utilize,” states an April 11 ONC blog.

Earlier this year, ONC launched Sync for Genes in partnership with the National Institutes of Health to support NIH’s Precision Medicine Initiative. Specifically, S4Genes is supporting the PMI national cohort of 1 million or more Americans—the All of Us research program—who will contribute their physical, genomic, and electronic health record-based clinical data to the landmark study.

Also See: Sync for Genes seeks to bring genomics to the point of care

For its part, Sync4Genes is meant to improve genomic information sharing—including data from next generation sequencing (NGS) laboratories—in a consistent and usable way via point-of-care applications as well as “create a foundation for widespread use of genomic data to be shared in the All of Us research program and future studies,” according to ONC.

“Sync for Genes is our first step towards integrating clinical genomics and clinical genomics testing into the point of care by expediting the use of standards like HL7’s (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources),” says Acting National Coordinator Jon White, MD. “It’s meant to enable and improve patients’ abilities to seamlessly share their genomic information…we’re going to take those standards that we’ve been working on and we’re going to be pilot testing them.”

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