Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2017 - 23

GENETICS / FEATURE

by the time I'm 50,'" Manzi says. "That is a different
conversation, and one that experts in this field debate
often." Groups are split on the ethical debate: What should
be mandatory for providers to have to return? What should
be decided by the family or the patient?

Better care, cure and costs
Regardless of the challenges, pharmacogenomic testing
presents an opportunity to reduce adverse drug events and
improve patient care, as well as reduce costs and length of
stay, according to Vinks. Not to mention, it creates a more
personalized level of care. "There are multiple studies that
show doing this type of testing up front will help providers
make better choices and individualize care," says Vinks. A
study in the February issue of Clinical Therapeutics examined
the potential for medication cost savings for payers and
patients with mental illness. If a patient failed to respond to
a single psychiatric drug, providers used a pharmacogenomic
test to switch or add a new medication. The results showed a
cost savings of about $4,000 per member per year.

2017

Still, there is a tremendous need for increased awareness
around pharmacogenomic testing: how it works, when it's
right to test (or not) and the benefits of testing. "Education
is very important," says Vinks. "Pharmacogenomics is
complicated, and the world is divided into believers and nonbelievers. So one of the things we do frequently is give talks
to our genetic counselors and our clinical teams as to where
pharmacogenomics can make a difference for them."
"It will truly be useful in everyday selection of medications
for patients so we can stop some of the trial and error and
start at a more appropriate dose or on a more appropriate
drug out of the box," Manzi says. "And I hope that decreases
the time we spend trying to find the right answer, as well as
decreasing severe side effects. That's the whole goal."
Megan McDonnell Busenbark is a writer and founder
and principal of Encore Communications LLC, in
New Fairfield, Connecticut.
Send questions or comments to
magazine@childrenshospitals.org.

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2017

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