The DIGITizE Action Collaborative: Working together to expand clinical IT support for genetics

August 11, 2015
Free for AMIA members; $50 for non-members
Sandy Aronson - Executive Director of Information Technology, Partners HealthCare Personalized Medicine

Ultimately the genetics community will need to rely on electronic health records (EHRs) to make the benefits of genetics widely accessible to the patient population. Clinicians will require clear, real-time updated displays conveying the implications of a patient's genetic results. They will also need various forms of automated clinical decision support (CDS) to ensure they apply these results properly over time. Researchers will also require mechanisms that enable them to access clinical genetic data in a manner that protects patient privacy. The construction of all of this support depends on our ability to robustly transfer genetic data as it moves through the healthcare environment. Establishing conduits that uniformly preserve the integrity of genetic data as it moves is challenging because of the number of organizations directly and indirectly involved. Considerable cross industry collaboration is needed. This talk will discuss the goals of increasing clinical genetic IT support, the challenges in doing so, and the work of a cross industry DIGITizE Action Collaborative established by the Institute of Medicine Genomics Roundtable to accelerate the creation of the needed support. The DIGITizE AC's experience facilitating the creation of two specific pharmacogenomic CDS rules aimed at helping clinicians as they prescribe particular drugs will be used as an example to illustrate the steps required to establish robust support. 

Learning Objectives

After participating in this activity, the learner should be better able to:

  • Identify the barriers to increasing support for genetics in clinical information technology systems
  • Explain why cross industry collaboration is needed to address these barriers
  • Describe the focus and status of DIGITizE AC

Speaker Information

Sandy Aronson
Executive Director of Information Technology
Partners HealthCare Personalized Medicine
Co-Chair DIGITizE Action Collaborative

Sandy Aronson is the Executive Director of IT for Partners HealthCare Personalized Medicine. His team develops IT infrastructure required to support the evolution and practice of genetic based personalized medicine in both patient facing and laboratory settings. The system ecosystem the team maintains enables a real time continuous learning process that allows laboratories to harness their clinical testing flows to advance knowledge surrounding genetic variation. This infrastucture then enables laboratories to keep treating clinicians up to date through patient specific alerts as they improve variant classifications. The team developed and continuously enhances the GeneInsight Suite (GIS). GIS consists of GeneInsight Lab, GeneInsight Clinic and the functionality that underlies the GeneInsight Network including the VariantWire share-and-share-alike network. The team works wirh Partners HealthCare Information Systems to maintain the integration between GeneInsight Clinic and the Partners HealthCare Electronic Health Record. In addition to GeneInsight, the team developed the original GIGPAD system to support laboratory processing including its Case Management System component, is developing an Olego management system and assists the Partners HealthCare Personalized Medicine Bioinformatics Team in the development and maintenance of bioinformatic pipeline infrastructure. 

Prior to this position, Mr. Aronson was an IT consultant to the biotechnology industry working for Tribiosys. Mr. Aronson also held several positions with Sapient Corporation, was a Strategic Consultant for Monitor Company and founded LearningAction, a web-based training company now part of Best Software. Mr. Aronson holds a Masters in Organizational Behavior and a Bachelors in Computer Science from Stanford University. He also holds a Masters in Biology from Harvard Extension School.