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Johnson & Bell Shareholders, D. Patterson Gloor and Tammy L. Wade, were guest speakers at the Chicagoland Healthcare Risk Management Society’s (CHRMS) Winter Program. Their discussion focused on the impact that genetics is having on the standard of care provided by physicians and health care institutions to patients. With the increasing availability of information about a patient’s genetic predisposition to certain disease processes, physicians today have an exponentially greater amount of information about a patient’s specific health risks. This new information may require health care institutions, physicians and other health care professionals to alter how they treat and manage patients.

All disease processes are the result of an inherited genetic mutation or one based on exposure to environmental toxins. Genetic testing has become a diagnostic and predictive tool for identifying a disease processes that a patient is likely to develop and those that a patient is at an increased risk to develop. For instance, genetics have transformed the standard of care for patients with a personal or family risk of breast cancer, allowing for early detection and treatment of breast cancer. Risk models have also been developed for identifying those at risk for prostate and testicular cancer. The National Institutes of Health has approved studies involving “editing” genes to cure previously untreatable disease processes. Personalized medicine is offered by many of the largest healthcare systems in the country where physicians are already treating patients based on their unique genetic “fingerprint.”  With the cost of genetic testing decreasing and the consumer demand for the information increasing, a transformation is expected in the standard of care based on genetics.

To learn more about the impact genetics is having on the standard of care for physicians and how genetics is being used in defending product liability and medical malpractice claims, contact D. Patterson Gloor or Tammy L. Wade.

Related Item of Interest: 

Genome Sequencing and Its Role in Medical Causation