NIH funds research to integrate genomics into EHRs

An important component of the work will be applying what is learned about gene variants into medical settings
By Jack McCarthy
09:26 AM
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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded grants totaling more than $30 million to 12 universities, hospitals and medical groups to pursue research projects that tie DNA sequence information into electronic medical records.

The grants will be administered by the NIH-affiliated National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), as part of the continuing research by the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) network (also NIH-affiliated), to better understand the genomic basis of disease and to tailor medical care to individual patients based on their genomic differences.

"The newly funded projects are focused on discovering genes and gene variants with clinical implications by using the latest sequencing technologies to examine rare and common variants suspected to relate to disease risk and treatment effects," Rongling Li, MD, program director for Electronic Medical Records and Genomics in the Division of Genomic Medicine at the NIH-affiliated National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) said in a statement. NHGRI will administer the grants.

Li added that researchers will look at the best ways to provide DNA test results to physicians and patients, and examine the psychological and economic effects on patients and families, as well as the effects on healthcare systems in using this information.

"The other important component is implementing what researchers learn about these gene variants into medical settings to improve patient care," Li said.

Grants were awarded to the following groups: Group Health Research Institute/University of Washington, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Cincinnati Children's, Mayo Clinic, Geisinger Health System, Columbia University, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Northwestern University; NIH awarded Vanderbilt University School of Medicine two grants and Baylor College of Medicine had already started working under one. 

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