VP Joe Biden Visits With Healthcare Leaders in Utah

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A wide variety of topics were brought up in a round-table discussion including genetics, treatments, big data storage and electronic health records. Charles Sorenson, MD, Intermountain’s President and CEO, participated in the roundtable section. Raj Srivastava, MD, Intermountain’s Research Medical Director, was also invited to attend.

Biden opened the discussion talking about how cancer and the treatments have radically been changing over the last few years.

 “The major thrust of cancer treatment… was identify the cancer, kill the cancer cells as fast as you can kill them, excise as mush of the tumor as you can, use targeted radiation in as large as a dose as you can do it, and then as much chemo as the body could stand,” said Vice President Joe Biden.

“But we are in an inflection point the last five, seven years of my observation, is that phase…was some decades of basically fairly barbaric treatment.”

Intermountain’s Precision Genomics has been a leader in precision medicine in changing the way treatments are administered for better prognosis and a better quality of life. The treatments are based on genetic testing to create target therapies based on the individual’s DNA.

Finding a patient’s genetic make-up was also focused on by Biden and the round-table. The topic changed to who owns the genetic results. There have been health systems and software companies that keep some of the results to themselves citing proprietary technology.

Even Biden encountered this with his own son’s cancer gene that was analyzed where there was sequencing that was proprietary and not owned by the patient. But with the move to electronic health records, Biden said that the patient should have complete access to their medical records. Dr. Sorenson helped address those concerns of proprietary data.

 “I just wonder, Mr. Vice President, that if this isn’t the time to have federal government issue what kind of a database do we want to create. Have a uniformity of the database,” Dr. Sorenson said. “We chose unfortunately in my view to not have a uniformed database as we created our electronic medical records over the last 20 years. So you have proprietary databases that don’t talk one to another.”

“There are others things that we need to think [about] how we are going to add to that as we are sequencing genes of individuals and families of tumor genomics. As you know that takes a tremendous amount of storage.”

Intermountain was invited the previous day to the Precisions Medicine Initiative Summit in Washington D.C. that was hosted by President Barrack Obama. At the summit, Intermountain announced a pledge to grant patients with direct access to their personal cancer genomic data and genome information.

RELATED: White House Invites Intermountain Healthcare to Precision Medicine Summit

You can learn more here about Intermountain’s Precision Genomics program.