Dr David Hansen is CEO of the Australian e-Health Research Centre and a Chief Investigator with the Centre for Research Excellence in Digital Health. He has been involved with teams of researchers in exploring genomic medicine and its application. Recently, these teams have published a number of papers exploring genomics in healthcare policy, research and clinical delivery in the Australian context.

Since the first human genome was sequenced almost 20 years ago, the cost of genomic sequencing has rapidly decreased where it is now becoming cost effective to use in a clinical setting. As a clinical tool, genomics is a relatively new, disruptive technology and is only now being implemented in the Australian healthcare system in a systemic way. In the next decade, knowledge about how variation in our genomes affects our health and how this can be harnessed to improve care outcomes is expected to increase dramatically.

Genomic medicine promises better patient outcomes in a more economically efficient health system with rapid diagnosis, earlier intervention and targeted therapy. For consumers, this means personalised medicine, and empowering individual access to and control of health information.

Successful implementation of genomic medicine requires whole-of-system change. We now face the technical, ethical, legal and sociocultural challenges of how health services should use genomic data to inform and improve health care for all Australians throughout life.

You can read some of these recent papers in the Australian Medical Journal and the American Journal of Human Genetics.

You can find out more about CRE partner CSIRO and their work in health research here, or read further about genomic medicine in Australia at Australian Genomics.

Oct 9, 2019