Newswise — The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center/Nebraska Medicine and GenomOncology today announced the launch of the first discrete genomic results reporting system using the HL7 2.5 format.

HL7 (Health Level Seven International) is the most common communication method to move health care data between systems and is used by essentially every hospital in the U.S. and Canada to communicate laboratory test results between electronic health record (EHR) systems. 

The system will feed several cancer center output sources with discrete genomic variant data points. The data will be fed directly to next-generation sequencing (NGS) panels, the cancer center’s research database (called Nebraska Cares), and eventually, into the EHR.    

In 2015, UNMC cancer center launched GenomOncology’s Pathology Workbench to streamline its reporting workflow of NGS of genes to match patients to therapy and clinical trial recommendations.

Two years later, UNMC cancer center determined that DNA sequence data, coupled with the pathologist’s interpretation, would significantly enhance cancer therapeutic decision-making if embedded in the EHR as discrete data rather than just a simple text report “trapped” in a PDF.

“Clinicians need concise, relevant information returned quickly, so that they can treat their patients with the best options available,” said Scott Campbell, Ph.D., assistant professor and director of informatics for the Public Health Laboratory and the Pathology Laboratory at the Buffett Cancer Center. “By providing easy-to-interpret genomic results to clinicians as rapidly and accurately as possible, we strive to support the highest level of oncology patient care.”

Dr. Campbell said the new system already has gone live in the Buffett Cancer Center’s research database and is being tuned to go live in its EHR system. Because of the common international technologies in the system, Dr. Campbell said it will be compatible with any health system in the country.

James Campbell, M.D., professor of internal medicine for UNMC, also played a key role in developing the breakthrough system. Named a fellow in the American College of Medical Informatics in 2012, Dr. Campbell has devoted more than 30 years of his career to development of a standardized EHR system and has been recognized internationally and in Nebraska for his efforts. He is no relation to Dr. Scott Campbell. 

It had been thought this new system would require new technologies, such as FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), and thus wouldn’t become widely available for several years. 

To accelerate the new process, GenomOncology, working in collaboration with the Buffett Cancer Center, developed a proprietary software program called GO-Connect. The program converts complex genetic testing results into a format that is easily incorporated into EHR systems for ongoing patient care. 

GO-Connect can act as a “molecular hub,” receiving gene variant information from a variety of data sources and transmitting the data to both the EHR and other data repositories. The system is configurable to meet each client's specific requirements and provides rapid integration with any EHR using technologies currently available. 

“This solution addresses one of the most common challenges in health care today – streamlining patient information into a manageable, digestible format. Oncologists today often need to open several PDFs and go to multiple portals to obtain the information required to make a treatment decision or assess trial eligibility,” said Manuel J. Glynias, founder and CEO of GenomOncology. “GO-Connect puts NGS data in the same part of the EHR as the serum chemistries or blood counts, which will make using this data significantly more convenient.”

"We want everybody to use this technology," Dr. Scott Campbell said. "It's available free of charge for non-commercial use if you have a license with the National Library of Medicine." 

Dr. Scott Campbell and Glynias presented on the new technology at the Cancer Informatics for Cancer Centers  Conference (CI4CC) in Hawaii on April 3. In addition, both the Campbells attended and/or presented at three separate technology conferences in London earlier this month.

About UNMC

A vital enterprise in the nation’s heartland, the University of Nebraska Medical Center has its eye on improving the future of health care in Nebraska and beyond.

As Nebraska’s only public academic health science center, UNMC is committed to the education of a 21st century health care workforce, to finding cures and treatments for devastating diseases, to providing the best care for patients, and to serving our state and its communities through award-winning outreach. UNMC also is committed to embracing the richness of diversity, and is a major economic engine for the state of Nebraska.

Led by Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., UNMC has six colleges and two institutes, serving more than 3,900 students in more than two dozen programs. Several UNMC programs are ranked among the top in the country by U.S. News & World Report. These include the physician assistant, primary care, physical therapy, pharmacy and public health programs.

About GenomOncology

GenomOncology enables the application of genomics in oncology to improve patient care. We have applied our expertise in genomics, technology and data integration to create solutions for cancer care providers. Our solutions are end-to-end: from the data coming out of the sequencer to the bedside where oncologists make treatment decisions. Our technology streamlines workflow and creates actionable reports for pathologists.  Downstream, we integrate molecular and clinical information, providing oncologists with powerful decision-support tools that enable treatment selection, patient identification for clinical trials, and a “patients-like-mine” feature for use in difficult cases – all delivered through a real-time platform. Our solutions also enable “Big Data” analysis of aggregate data to drive research and new insights.