Ochsner integrates precision medicine capabilities within Epic EHR

Ochsner Health this week announced a new integration that will make it easier for its physicians to deliver precision medicine within their existing clinical workflows.

The New Orleans-based health system says it’s the first in the nation to incorporate Epic’s Orders and Results Anywhere integration with its genomics module – a move that will reduce the amount of time clinicians spend ordering genomic tests and reviewing results.

Through Epic’s partnership with Tempus, which develops precision oncology technology, Ochsner physicians can now order tests and access discrete biomarkers within the patient’s electronic health record, helping them offer more personalized cancer treatment options.

Physicians at Ochsner’s 47 hospitals and hundreds of clinics can order genomic tests with a click to identify actionable genomic variants and therapeutic options, including matched clinical trials. The data flows directly into Epic – offering a unified view of the patient’s genomic and clinical information.

“Labs have traditionally sent genetic testing results to providers in PDFs that look nice but don’t power precision medicine at the point of care,” said Alan Hutchison, vice president at Epic, in a statement. “The discrete genomic results that Tempus sends back to Ochsner flow directly to patients’ charts where they’re actionable, not trapped in a PDF report.”

“Using discrete actionable data to create patient insights is one of Ochsner Information Services’ guiding principles and this technology will allow us to bring results to our providers in an actionable format to quickly make an impact on patient care. This is another example of how we prioritize ‘patients first’ initiatives,” added Amy Trainor, Ochsner’s VP of clinical systems.

Limitations around EHRs and their ability to support volumes of discrete genomic data have been a big challenge in recent years, and have arguably held back wider adoption of precision medicine treatment strategies.

Even a decade ago, experts were warning that “EHRs are not designed to store large blocks of data that do not require rapid access; nor are they currently capable of integrating genomics clinical decision support.”

As Dr. John Halamka said in 2017: “Our EHRs are not exactly friendly for clinicians and they haven’t done a good job of taking things like biomarkers, genomic interpretations and decision support and turning them into action.”

But with precision medicine finally reaching a critical mass, increasingly integrated into the way physicians deliver care, more and more health systems are looking to retool IT infrastructure and clinical workflows to accommodate these personalized treatment plans.

“We’ve found that these EHR integrations significantly reduce the amount of time physicians spend ordering and reviewing our clinical tests and reports, and as a result spend more time with their patients, equipped with the data needed to make informed treatment decisions,” said Dr. James L. Chen, senior VP of cancer informatics at Tempus.

“This integration greatly enriches the precision care we provide to patients with cancer,” added Dr. Marc Matrana, medical director of precision medicine at Ochsner Health. “Through efficient, streamlined access to discrete genomics data, we can determine a patient’s unique cancer and tailor treatment for the best possible outcome.”

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: [email protected]

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