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Eventually Everybody Will Have Their Genomes Sequenced
So by when do the researchers see whole genome sequencing being applied to every child? Hardison cautioned that health care changes very slowly. In fact, a recent study disturbingly found that it takes an average of 17 years for new evidence-based findings to reach clinical practice. Indeed Hardison noted that sequencing technologies are way ahead of the various medical society committees’ testing recommendations, which “are hopelessly out of date.” Hardison predicted that “eventually we will all have our genomes sequenced.” Right now, the unwillingness of insurers and government programs like Medicare and Medicaid to pay for genetic screening tests is a bottleneck for consumers wanting access to genetic testing.
At the beginning of the third day’s sessions, Meredith Salisbury of the life sciences consultancy Bioscribe, suggested, “In many cases we’ll see that the consumers are really leading the charge, not the establishment.” As the costs for genomic sequencing continue to plummet, I predict that Salisbury’s observation will come true. Consumers will do an end run around the stodgy medical establishment and demand access to genomic testing information. Doctors will be forced to catch up to their patients. And that’s a good thing for everybody.