The Economics of Genomic Medicine – Insights From the IOM Roundtable on Translating Genomic-Based Research for Health


In this Viewpoint, W. Gregory Feero, M.D., Ph.D., of the Maine-Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency, Augusta, Maine (Dr. Feero is also Contributing Editor, JAMA), and colleagues discuss several of the issues that became apparent from the July 2012 Institute of Medicine’s (IOM’s) Roundtable on Translating Genomic-Based Research for Health, a meeting designed to identify critical gaps unique to understanding the economics of adopting whole-genome or exome sequence information into health care. “The meeting report, published by the IOM, highlights that genome-scale information challenges traditional economic assessment much as it challenges approaches of traditional health care delivery.”

“The dialogue started at the 2012 IOM meeting should be continued. Immediate next steps could include additional IOM-sponsored stakeholder meetings to further the discussion, publication of articles with detailed proposals for filling knowledge gaps identified by stakeholder groups, and stakeholder engagement in focused efforts to create standardized approaches for clinical use and economic assessment in this area. Additionally, there is an important role for an independent, impartial organization or organizations to help prioritize translational research, understand evidence thresholds, and mediate the development of a consensus approach for assigning value to genome sequencing.”

“Resolving and effectively managing economic factors influencing the use of genome sequencing in health care is a critical task facing the public and private sectors. Early and prompt attention to these issues could prove to be deterministic for both genomics and the U.S. health care system in the decades to come.”

(JAMA. 2013;309[12]:1235-1236