Children's National Health System to implement in-house genetic testing system

The Children's National Health System has launched a pediatric genomic initiative to bring its genetic testing in-house and link ithe results to patients' records.

The goal of the initiative is to improve diagnostic rates, speed up turnaround time and reduce costs by avoiding outsourcing testing. The hospital will sequence genomes using Illumina's NextSeq 500 technology and GenomOncology's GO Clinical Workbench for analysis and report generation, both of which were implemented in February, according to GenomeWeb.

Clinicians can order the entire panel of genome sequences or can customize their own panel based on a patient's phenotype. However, the entire panel will be sequenced for every patient, and the lab will focus analysis only on the ordered genes. The hospital initially moved its array-based testing in-house in 2013, which cut the number of outsourced tests in half. The next year, it decided to invest in next-generation sequencing, according to the report.

Moving the genetic testing in-house will give the genomic analysts access to patients' complete medical records, improving interpretation. Billing is based on the number of genes included in the panel, which encourages physicians to only order what they need, according to the report.

The lab will likely begin exome sequencing in the next six months to one year to better identify disease-causing genes. The hospital also plans to implement NGS in other capacities, such as whole-genome sequencing for infectious disease diagnostics and monitoring, according to the report.

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