NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins names his biggest healthcare pet peeve — The EHR

National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, spoke with STAT reporter Meghana Keshavan about his background and scientific interests during the Milken Institute's Global Conference 2018, which took place April 29 through May 2 in Los Angeles.

In response to a question about what aspect of healthcare or science he finds "most frustrating," Dr. Collins noted a pet peeve familiar to many physicians — the EHR. "I thought by now we'd be in a circumstance where those would be interoperable and portable, so patients would have easy access to their own records," he said. "That's still been very frustrating."

Ms. Keshavan proceeded to ask which technology has Dr. Collins "most fired up," to which Dr. Collins responded with a discussion about gene-editing technology, focusing on CRISPR-Cas9, a tool that enables scientists to modify an organism's DNA.

"I'm very excited about the potential of gene-editing to cure rare diseases for which we know the molecular defect and there's no current therapy," he said. "CRISPR-Cas9 has made it possible not just to dream about such protocols, but actually design them. I think this will be the year where we will see the first clinical trials to cure sickle cell disease using CRISPR-Cas9."

To access Dr. Collins' interview with STAT, click here.

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