Genomic Medicine: Balancing Cost and Value

December 10, 2014
Genomic Medicine: Balancing Cost and Value
Economic models for evaluating genomic data must consider both the costs and benefits of obtaining the data and delivering the treatments. [© Tameek/Fotolia]

Alex Philippidis

2014 may have been the year the “$1,000 genome” became reality. But it’s ultimately a small piece of a much bigger puzzle, the economics of genomic medicine and translating that value into actual health benefits to patients—that will continue to vex researchers and clinicians into the new year and beyond.

The falling cost of sequencing and other tools for extracting genomic data will be more than made up by the expenses labs and medical practices will face not only analyzing the growing deluge of raw data, but clinically interpreting those results. Yet genomic economics is also being shaped by factors beyond numbers—from data quality and quantity, to patient behavior, to the actions of payers.

“It’s not the cost of the test, per se, that’s going to be driving the economic decision making. It’s how the information is conveyed to providers and patients, and how they respond to it that is a first-order concern to an insurer, or someone thinking about implementing genetics in clinical practice,” John A. Graves, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, told Clinical OMICs.

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