InterSystems Ensemble platform enables first successful electronic transmission of genetic data

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InterSystems Corporation, the global leader in software for connected healthcare, today announced that InterSystems Ensemble® was the software platform for the first-ever successful electronic transmission of comprehensive genetic data. The information was sent cross-country from Boston-based Partners HealthCare Center for Personalized Genetic Medicine (PCPGM) to Intermountain HealthCare in Salt Lake City, Utah. The announcement about reaching this milestone in personalized medicine came at the HIMSS10 conference.

“InterSystems is committed to the ongoing research and development that results in breakthroughs for information technology and we applaud PCPGM and Intermountain for this leap forward in personalized medicine.”

The clinical genomic networking system, called VariantWire, used InterSystems Ensemble as the foundation of a secure data transfer hub between the PCPGM laboratory and the healthcare center. “InterSystems is very committed to the personalized medicine space and has provided us with excellent and enthusiastic support,” said Sandy Aronson, Executive Director of Information Technology at PCPGM. The Ensemble rapid integration and development platform is used by healthcare organizations worldwide for multiple initiatives including integrating systems and data repositories, building composite applications and establishing an SOA infrastructure.

Overcoming Genetic/Genomic Data Transfer Challenges

Personalized medicine is based on the concept that genetic/genomic testing can provide information about a person that can be used to tailor medical care to individual needs. The addition of a patient’s genetic variation to an electronic health record (EHR) can, for example, help guide selection of drugs to minimize side effects or help build a strategy for a more successful treatment outcome.

For this first genetic data transfer case, a man from Utah was tested at PCPGM for an inherited heart condition called hypertropic cardiomyopathy. The results were sent via VariantWire to Intermountain where the information was added to the individual’s EHR. The test showed that the patient wasn’t at risk for the heart condition and provided additional genetic data that is now available for storage and future analysis.

The large amount and extreme complexity of the data that results from genetic testing are major challenges in the personalized medicine area. Completed genetic records are not typically provided to patients or physicians because they carry too much data to put in a paper record and many physicians would not be able to make effective use of the complicated data. “There was a huge amount of validation testing that had to be done to ensure information accuracy,” said Aronson.

Another challenge is to make the genetic data practical to use by most physicians. “We’ll take this information and work with genetics specialists to write programs and create protocols that will assist doctors,” said Stan Huff, MD, Chief Medical Informatics Officer at Intermountain. “A physician will not need to be an expert in family medicine and genetics to effectively use this information for the benefit of his or her patients—our programs will help.”

It’s a privilege to provide the software technology that helped enable the attainment of this significant test milestone,” said Paul Grabscheid, InterSystems Vice President of Strategic Planning. “InterSystems is committed to the ongoing research and development that results in breakthroughs for information technology and we applaud PCPGM and Intermountain for this leap forward in personalized medicine.”

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