Genetics usually refers to the study of individual genes and their role in disease or inheritance. Genomics refers to an individual’s entire genomic make-up. Genomics looks at the genetic sequence of genes, and their structure and function as well as the interactions between genes. An easy way to think about genetic testing is to compare it to a book, because genetics is truly our Instruction Manual of Life and genetic testing is simply a way to proofread each person’s Instruction Manual for potential typos, according to Sequencing.com.
The accuracy of whole genome sequencing is quickly improving and the cost is quickly dropping. Within the next couple of years, this technology will most likely be widely used by Concierge Physicians in the daily clinical care of their patients.
The Concierge Medicine Physician can, should [and currently is] acting as the informed fiduciary, shepherding the patient treatment process so as to make informed decisions with actionable data, together, with their patients. Advanced DNA research and whole genome sequencing have powerful applications, says trade publication, Concierge Medicine Today. Companies see Concierge Physicians as the ideal delivery model, allowing people to learn more about their DNA and make informed, data-driven decisions under the direction and support of their involved [Concierge] physician, to live a healthier life.
“The genetic revolution has already begun, and it is having far-reaching effects on healthcare right now,” said Brandon Colby, MD and author of Outsmart Your Genes. “Our knowledge of how to use this information is increasing at an exponential rate. What this means is that we can now start to integrate genetics into our everyday lives. With comprehensive genetic testing, we launch an innovative strategy against disease, attacking it before it even manifests. Genetic testing, therefore, provides a new counter-offensive in our war against Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, and many other diseases that have plagued our civilization for centuries. This is the most exciting, and potentially groundbreaking, medical development of this century.”
“The data, however, should be owned by the patient. Their Physician can help direct them on how to apply the information contained in WGS to maximize its benefits,” states Michael Tetreault, Editor of Concierge Medicine Today. “Patients need the ability to securely store, use, and understand genetic data.”
Colby notes, whole genome sequencing allows him to “cast a wide net” by generating a tremendous amount of genetic data. He then uses apps at Sequencing.com that analyze the data and provide straightforward reports focused on relevant, actionable findings. He also noted that there are five questions you [patients and physicians] need to ask in order to assess the quality of the outcomes data: (1) The credibility of the laboratory doing the testing; (2) What types of diseases are included in the test; (3) How thoroughly does the test actually evaluate risk for each of the diseases; (4) Whether the information is provided in a way that makes it actionable; and (5) Will the results be delivered in a format that is straightforward and easy to understand?