On Monday, based in New Orleans Ochsner Health add a tool to yours Epic An EHR that allows physicians to seamlessly order genomic tests for cancer patients. The health system is the first in the country to use Epic’s Orders & Results Anywhere tool in the EHR giant’s genomics module.
Although Ochsner Health is the first health system to integrate Epic’s genomic test ordering tool, it is not the first health system to streamline genomic testing into its EHR. This will be based in Missouri MU Healthcarewhich he added genomic test ordering tool in its Oracle Cerner EHR in June.
Epic’s tool allows physicians to easily order Tempus‘ patient genomic testing directly from the EHR, with test results returned directly to the EHR. These results reveal genomic data about a patient’s unique cancer and identify actionable genomic variants and therapeutic options, including matching clinical trials.
This integration is a big win for precision cancer care, Dr. Mark Matrana, Ochsner’s medical director of precision medicine, said in an interview. He believes that doctors will be able to provide more personalized and efficient care now that they can have a single view of their patients’ genomic and clinical data in one place.
Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) is a vital component of cancer treatment, Matrana says. NGS allows doctors to take a small sample of a patient’s cancer tissue — or in some cases collect tumor DNA circulating in the patient’s blood through a blood test called a liquid biopsy — and sequence that genetic material. This helps doctors identify certain biomarkers that can help treat their patients.
“One-third to 40 percent of patients who underwent this study benefited,” Matrana said. “We change therapies frequently because of this, so it’s absolutely vital that every patient who presents with cancer anywhere in the country has this genetic sequencing.”
The ideal Matrana talks about is still utopian, as NGS is cumbersome to order and complete. Often, that requires paper orders and faxing with a third-party company, he said.
“It’s no wonder that a large majority of patients in this country are still not getting the proper genetic testing they need so their doctors can make the most appropriate treatment decisions for them,” Matrana said.
The goal of this integration is to make ordering genomic tests for cancer patients as easy as ordering any standard blood test. Ochsner is currently building workflows into its EHR so that these tests are ordered as soon as a patient is diagnosed with cancer, according to Matrana. This would allow oncologists to get a full picture of a patient’s unique cancer before they even make their first visit, allowing them to put the patient on the right therapy much earlier in the game.
By incorporating Epic’s ordering tool, Matrana hopes Ochsner will not only increase the number of its cancer patients undergoing timely genetic testing, but also increase awareness of testing to both patients and providers . He pointed out that there are different types of genetic tests for cancer, such as tests that determine the risks of developing cancer in family members and tests that show whether a patient’s cancer has returned. Patients — and even some providers — tend to lump all genetic tests together, but it’s vital that doctors know when to use the right genetic test at the right time when providing precision cancer care, Matrana says.
“We’re talking about the difference between going on chemotherapy and living a year versus going on a targeted therapy and living many times longer and with a much better quality of life,” he said.
Photo: Ochsner Health