What Are the Keys to Successfully Integrating Pharmacogenomics into Practice?

Author: Kate H. Gamble, Senior Editor

The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) has published a new white paper evaluating the application and integration of pharmacogenomics into pharmacy clinical practice to improve patient care. The report—entitled Integrating Pharmacogenomics into Pharmacy Practice via Medication Therapy Management—is published in the November/December issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association.

The abstract of the white paper can be found below. Full-text articles are available free of charge on the Journal’s Web site.

Objective: To explore the application and integration of pharmacogenomics in pharmacy clinical practice via medication therapy management (MTM) to improve patient care.

Summary: In 2006, HHS initiated the Personalized Health Care Initiative with the goal of building the foundation for the delivery of gene-based care, which may prove to be more effective for large patient subpopulations. In the years since the initiative was launched, drug manufacturers and FDA have begun to incorporate pharmacogenomic data and applications of this information into the drug development, labeling, and approval processes. New applications and processes for using this emerging pharmacogenomics data are needed to effectively integrate this information into clinical practice. Building from the findings of a stakeholder workshop convened by APhA and the advancement of the pharmacist’s collaborative role in patient care through MTM, emerging roles for pharmacists using pharmacogenomic information to improve patient care are taking hold. Realizing the potential role of the pharmacist in pharmacogenomics through MTM will require connectivity of pharmacists into the electronic health record infrastructure to permit the exchange of pertinent health information among all members of a patient’s health care team. Addressing current barriers, concerns, and system limitations and developing an effective infrastructure will be necessary for pharmacogenomics to achieve its true potential.

Analysis: As the models of integration and application of pharmacogenomic data continue to evolve, pharmacists must further develop a process to effectively deliver pharmacogenomic services to individual patients that is aligned with MTM service delivery. Realizing the potential role of the pharmacist in pharmacogenomics through MTM, however, will require connectivity of pharmacists into the electronic health record infrastructure to permit the exchange of pertinent health information among all members of a patient’s health care team. Although pharmacogenomics has tremendous potential to affect patient care with the current system, addressing current barriers, concerns, system limitations, and developing an infrastructure by which all health care providers can work collaboratively and collectively to effectively gather, store, and apply pharmacogenomic data will be critical to improving patient care, achieving better outcomes, and enhancing health care delivery.

Conclusion: To achieve integration of pharmacogenomics into clinical practice via MTM, the pharmacy profession must define a process for the application of pharmacogenomic data into pharmacy clinical practice that is aligned with MTM service delivery, develop a viable business model for these practices, and encourage and direct the development of HIT solutions that support the pharmacist’s role in this emerging field.