Innovation That Matters

myGenetics is a large-scale community research programme | Photo source Sangharsh Lohakare on Unsplash

A new genomics programme offers patients a chance to identify risk earlier

Health & Wellbeing

Members of the HealthPartners health system will be able to use genetic data and health records to identify risk and take steps to mitigate serious disease earlier

Spotted: There has been a growing interest in the uses of population genomics to innovate healthcare. These programmes combine clinical information with large scale genetic data to deliver information that can help individuals, researchers, and government and industry health programmes. One recent innovation is myGenetics, a population genomics programme developed by HealthPartners health system and genomics company Helix.

The myGenetics programme is a large-scale community health research programme that will integrate patient health records from HealthPartners clients with population genomics data collected by Helix to help identify areas of risk for individual patients. Similar programmes have helped as many as 1 in 75 participants discover and mitigate risks for serious health issues.

Those enrolled in HealthPartners’ health plan can register for the voluntary programme. They will be given genetic screening at no cost, which will include a variety of information. The programme will screen for some common cancers, heart disease, as well as regional ancestry, and other traits. The results will be used to provide patients with a detailed picture of hereditary health risks and to help care teams provide more personalised preventive care recommendations.

The project is explained by Steve Connelly, MD, co-executive medical director at HealthPartners, who says the company sees population genomics “as a critical step in our efforts to improve the health of the communities we serve across Minnesota and surrounding states. By understanding the role genetics play in an individual’s health, we can deliver more personalized care and improve the lives of our patients.”

Programmes like this, combining genetic testing with analysis and personalised treatment, are increasingly looking like the future of medical care. Other personalised health programmes we have recently seen include an AI-powered mental health app, a health-tracking platform powered by genomics and any number of wearable for home health tracking. 

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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