Ochsner Health System to Pilot Genetic Screening Program in Partnership with Color
Pilot program emphasizes proactive healthcare by identifying increased risk for hereditary cancers and heart disease
Ochsner Health System (Ochsner) and Color announced a first of its kind, fully-digital population health pilot program that integrates clinical genomics into standard care as part of Ochsner’s focus on delivering personalized healthcare. Developed by Ochsner’s innovation lab, innovationOchsner (iO), the health system’s program will proactively identify patients who are at higher risk for certain hereditary cancers and heart disease with the goal of early detection and prevention of future illness. The partnership leverages Color’s unique combination of medical grade genetics, clinical services, and patient engagement with Ochsner’s approach to making individualized patient-level insights actionable and integrating them into routine patient care at scale.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly two million people in the United States are at increased risk for adverse health outcomes because they have genetic mutations with one of the three conditions[i]:
- Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (HBOC) due to mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes
- Lynch Syndrome associated with increased risk in colorectal, endometrial, ovarian and other cancers
- Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH) which increases the risk for heart disease or stroke
Ochsner’s program will screen for these three conditions, based on the CDC’s determination that early detection and intervention could significantly reduce the risk of disease and the availability of evidence-based guidelines with well-established, effective actions providers and patients can take to reduce risk.
Different from direct-to-consumer genetic testing, Color uses clinical grade genetic testing technology while also providing support to individuals and providers with genetic counseling services. All genetic tests are ordered by a provider ensuring that patient data is subject to federal patient privacy regulations.
How It Works
In this pilot program, selected patients receive a testing kit and provide a DNA sample from the comfort of their own home. Participants then have access to Color’s services and unique tools for in-depth health discussions and easier family sharing.
Ochsner clinical teams are prepared to further discuss care plans and help patients navigate next steps within the healthcare system.
The enrollment process is completely digital and works seamlessly between Ochsner and Color, with emphasis on education and support for patients and Ochsner providers. Genetic testing results are stored in the patient’s Epic electronic medical record (EMR), giving patients and their providers information to improve healthcare collaboration and treatment plans. Furthermore, Ochsner has developed clinical decision support tools and a robust provider education program for both primary care and specialty providers to integrate into clinical practice.
All data collected is secure, complies with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements. Additionally, Color only shares identifiable genetic information if the individual consents to it.
Why It Matters
Ochsner is fulfilling its vision and building a healthier community which includes embracing new tools that allow predict and prevent adverse events before they happen. This enables Ochsner to better understand individualized risk among its patient population and create action plans that can save and change lives.
“Genetic screening can make a meaningful difference to patients through early detection and screening. Most consumers have access to home genetic screening tests but may not have the tools, resources and collaboration needed to take action should they receive questionable results,” said Dr. Richard Milani, Chief Clinical Transformation Officer, Ochsner Health System, and Medical Director, iO. “We know there are many factors that influence health, and genetic insights provide an additional data point to allow us to develop and deliver a more personalized approach in partnership with our patients. Integrating this information into the patient’s electronic health record so your doctor can review the results and discuss proactive treatment recommendations is yet another example of how we are reengineering care, informing smarter decisions by healthcare providers and empowering patients to become more involved in their health.”
“Ochsner continues to be a forward-thinking innovator in applying technology and software to engage and activate patients enabling more valuable, convenient and better care,” said Othman Laraki, CEO of Color. “Color is proud to partner with a leading health system to transform clinical care and deliver better outcomes across large patient populations.”
Earlier this year, Color was awarded a $4.6 million grant by National Institutes of Health (NIH) to serve as the nationwide genetic counseling service for their All of Us Research Program.
About Ochsner Health System
Ochsner Health System is Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, healthcare system. Driven by a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate, coordinated clinical and hospital patient care is provided across the region by Ochsner's 40 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and specialty hospitals, and more than 100 health centers and urgent care centers. Ochsner is the only Louisiana hospital recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Hospital” across three specialty categories caring for patients from all 50 states and more than 70 countries worldwide each year. Ochsner employs nearly 25,000 employees and over 4,500 employed and affiliated physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and conducts more than 700 clinical research studies. Ochsner Health System is proud to be a tobacco-free environment. For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
innovationOchsner (iO) is an innovation lab launched by Ochsner Health System to solve healthcare’s most pressing problems and reimagine and revolutionize the delivery and experience of healthcare. iO is developing new ways to empower patients to take an active role in monitoring, maintaining and enhancing their own health and for providers to dramatically improve the quality of care by managing patient conditions more effectively and efficiently. For more information, please visit www.ochsner.org/iO.
Color is the leader in delivering precision healthcare through cutting-edge technology. Color makes data-driven health programs such as clinical genetics accessible, convenient, and cost-effective for everyone. Color partners with leading health systems, premier employers, and national health initiatives around the world including the million-person All of Us program by the National Institutes of Health. For more information about Color, visit www.color.com.