June 23, 2022

Automated system will mean faster results, fewer delays and improved patient outcomes

The Tiger Institute for Health Innovation, which provides the technology for University of Missouri Health Care’s electronic health record (EHR), and Foundation Medicine, a pioneer in molecular profiling for cancer, have launched a fully automated genomic testing interface within the EHR.  

The Tiger Institute for Health Innovation is a unique private-public partnership between the University of Missouri and Oracle Cerner.

“Genomic testing through both blood and tissue samples has emerged as an important tool for cancer care, helping to improve patient outcomes,” said Richard Hammer, MD, professor of pathology at the MU School of Medicine and vice chair of clinical affairs in the Dept. of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences. “Prior to this improvement, clinicians had to manually send genomic test orders and then manually scan the results into a folder. That process made it difficult to view results and to identify who had undergone testing.”

Genomic testing has become critical for the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of conditions. In cancer treatment, precision medicine which targets therapy based on a patient’s unique cancer profile may greatly increase their chances of survival. The new capability enables clinicians to order tests and get patient results more quickly.

“The complexity comes not with the technology itself, but in ensuring that the technology fits within the workflow of both the clinicians and the lab,” said Katie Wilkinson, Sr. Director at the Tiger Institute.

“Our clinicians now have the ability to seamlessly integrate this new tool into our workflow,” Hammer said. “We can order the patient testing and receive the results within the EHR, and an email will notify us when the information is available. It speeds up the entire process and contributes to our core missions of patient safety and improving patient outcomes.”

The new technology not only helps clinicians by reducing the amount of paperwork and speeding up the notification process, but patients will also get their test results more quickly, which means they will be able to determine a tailored cancer treatment plan, can enroll earlier in clinical trials and receive more prompt and personalized treatment.

“Having this information electronically enables other care improvements such as clinical decision support based on a patient’s unique genomic profile,” Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson said this new technology is only the beginning of a wider collaborative effort between MU Health Care, Cerner and Foundation Medicine to develop clinical and genomic research data for the purpose of enhancing targeted therapy and precision medicine.

The Tiger Institute was formed a decade ago as a model for leveraging industry collaboration and better health care. Its work has improved the health and safety of patients, reduced costs and shaped the future of care for Missouri and beyond.