Virtual genomic counseling and educational service company Genome Medical has announced that three companies active and central to providing genomics information and services—Illumina, Counsyl and Invitae—have signed on to provide physician-guided genetic testing to its employees.
Genome announced its intention to enter the employer market with it services earlier this year with the intention of it being a benefit that can help a company’s employees increase their knowledge of their health and potential health risks. The secure platform, which is compliant with the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) can also potentially help employers decrease unnecessary treatment costs for their employees.
“We're encouraged by the number of employers that are interested in incorporating genetic testing and genomic care into their employee benefit packages to capitalize on one of the most powerful health care advancements of the modern era,” said Lisa Alderson, co-founder and CEO of Genome Medical in a press release. “For life-threatening diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, genomic care plays an important role in early detection, prevention, and disease management.”
A unique feature for Illumina's program is access to a Genomics Resource Center. Using this resource, employees can engage with a genetic specialist to discuss issues such as risk assessment, receive genomic tests and review testing results.
“Expanding our employee benefits to include genetic services and provide our global employee base with access to leading geneticists aligns with our vision to improve human health by unlocking the power of the genome,” said Pat Leckman, vice president of human resources at Illumina. “Through Genome Medical's employer offering, we are better able to empower our employees to take a proactive approach with their personal health and genomics journey.”
Genome Medical’s services for employers are all available online, the core of these are the company’s team of genetics experts and genetic counselors. Individual consultations are conducted either via phone or video, and the online platform also hosts live and on-demand education sessions to provide employees with information needed for informed consent for testing.
It’s safe to say the three newly added companies, which also work in the genomics field, understand the value Genome Medical’s service can bring to their employees.
“Invitae is aggregating the world's genetic tests into a single service to bring genetic information into mainstream medical care. Through Genome Medical, we can offer confidential access to genetic testing to our fast-growing team, which works each day to help make genetic-based healthcare more accessible,” said Alex Furman, co-founder and head of organizational development at Invitae. “We have a world-class team, and we want to be sure they have access to world-class, genetic-based health care. Genome Medical helps us do that.”
Genome Medical provides services for employers in four areas: genetic medical services, to help identify potential health risks; proactive health programs, that can help guide health decisions for people with a known genetic marker that indicates risk of developing a disease; genetics resource center—a national network of genetics experts; and a second opinion service for those who want to get confirmation or another opinion on next medical steps.