Pittsburgh physicians seek to improve medication safety, efficacy for patients
RALIEGH, NC – December 3, 2020 – Handelsman Family Practice, which provides care to patients in southeast Pittsburgh, has implemented the 2bPrecise pharmacogenomics (PGx) solution. The solution makes patient genomic information available to providers at the point of care, so they can ensure medications they prescribe are safe for each individual and are the ones most likely to provide fast therapeutic benefit.
According to Gordon Handelsman, MD, owner and practice medical director, PGx gives providers greater insight into how each patient’s body will process specific drugs. “Traditionally, physicians have had to use the ‘trial-and-error’ method of selecting medications,” he says. “Based on the patient’s diagnosis, you would choose the drug you thought most likely to be effective, based on broad-based clinical trials or information provided by a drug rep. You had no way to be sure it would be best option for the individual sitting in front of you.”
That led to providers prescribing one drug, waiting to see if it worked, then altering the dosage or moving on to a second option. This process could repeat itself over weeks or months, with no relief in sight for the patient. This prolonged approach has especially serious consequences for patients with conditions like depression or high cholesterol, among others.
With PGx results brought into the clinicians’ workflow via 2bPrecise, providers can see if the patient is a fast, normal or slow metabolizer of a given medication, which has a tremendous impact on safety and efficacy. For example, patients who have suffered a heart attack are often prescribe clopidogrel (e.g., Plavix) to prevent blood clots and ward off a second cardiac event. Fast metabolizers, however, process clopidogrel so quickly that it provides almost no therapeutic value – meaning it does little more than a placebo to avert a second heart attack. In slow metabolizers, the drug builds up in the patient’s body, likewise interfering with the intended benefit and potentially leading to toxicity.
“Having this knowledge in hand is particularly helpful when we care for elderly patients taking multiple medications,” Dr. Handelsman added. “Drug-gene interactions can contribute to avoidable problems such as the likelihood of falling and cognitive issues like confusion – in addition to not adequately treating the underlying condition.” He also notes that providing this level of service and innovation has a positive impact on patient satisfaction and loyalty.
Availability of in-workflow PGx functionality has also helped the practice weather challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Providers are able to discuss PGx with patients during a telehealth visit and, with consent, the patient can do the PGx test (a simple cheek swab) in their own home. The follow-up visit to discuss results can likewise be conducted via telehealth.
“2bPrecise has seen a dramatic increase in family medicine practices seeking to leverage genomics,” says Assaf Halevy, CEO and cofounder of 2bPrecise. “PGx is a terrific starting point to demonstrate how precision medicine can impact day-to-day and patient-by-patient decision making. We’re honored to work with innovators like Dr. Handelsman and his care team.”
The cloud-based 2bPrecise platform consumes genetic/genomic data from molecular labs and clinical information from EHRs, synthesizing them into a clinical-genomic ontology. The 2bPrecise Genomic EHR Mentor (GEM™) brings the resulting precision medicine insights into a physician’s EHR workflow for immediate and timely use. With discrete test results consolidated into an invaluable data set, provider organizations are likewise equipped to drive efficient workflows for genomic interventions, extract population analytics, design clinical intervention programs, build cohorts for trial recruitment, enable participation in research studies and more. Learn more at www.2bPreciseHealth.com.
Aria Marketing (for 2bPrecise)