Last year we began a four-year program to embed genomic medicine in Victoria’s heath system.
We have the evidence for when and how genomics can provide answers and save lives. Now it’s time to make it happen.
While our 2021 Annual Report provides an in-depth look at how we spent the year paving the way for genomic medicine, here are five key milestones in our journey so far.
Understanding barriers to using funded genomic testing
Paediatricians can now order Medicare-funded genomic testing for patients with syndromes that have a suspected genetic cause. Despite these tests being funded, they are noy yet widely used by Victorian paediatricians.
The Paediatrics Project is investigating the barriers and enablers of using genomic testing in routine paediatric practice. The team interviewed 26 paediatricians across Victoria, working to identify strategies to improve access for children.
Supporting accredited testing for cancer
Monash Health and Alfred Health now use GenoVic to support testing for cancer panels as well as inherited conditions. The GenoVic team developed functionality specific to cancer tests, including semiautomated submissions to reduce human error, and the ability to store data for reanalysis. This was critical for Monash Health to obtain accreditation for its cancer panels from the National Association of Testing Authorities.
Involving consumers in their healthcare
The voices of healthcare consumers – including First Nations peoples, regional Victorians, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and people with genetic conditions – must inform and guide genomic medicine in Victoria. We worked with our Community Advisory Group to create a Community Engagement Framework to inform all our projects. The framework helps ensure our engagement is ethical, inclusive and meaningful.
Making genomics education opportunities sustainable
Variant interpretation is the detective work undertaken to establish whether a particular gene variant can explain a patient’s condition. After developing variant interpretation subjects for The University of Melbourne’s Master of Genomics and Health program, we handed over carriage of these subjects to the university, leaving in place enduring specialist education.
New skills in our program team
We added new expertise to meet the changing requirements of the program: in implementation science to guide the design of healthcare change projects; business analytics to drive ongoing improvement; community engagement to expand our reach; and project management to ensure that our complex program operates in a disciplined and effective way. Meet our talented team.