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Welcome to the Empowered Patient Podcast with Karen Jagoda.  This show is a window into the latest innovations in digital health and the changing dynamic between doctors and patients.

Topics on the show include

  • the emergence of precision medicine and breakthroughs in genomics
  • advances in biopharmaceuticals
  • age-related diseases and aging in place
  • using big data from wearables and sensors
  • transparency in the medical marketplace
  • challenges for connected health entrepreneurs

The audience includes researchers, medical professionals, patient advocates, entrepreneurs, patients, caregivers, solution providers, students, journalists, and investors.

Sep 20, 2023

Dr. Bill Kerr, Co-Founder and CEO of Avalon Healthcare Solutions, sheds light on the value of genetic data and is focused on getting the science of gene sequencing better understood. Genetic testing can identify opportunities for treatment and specific mutations that can lead to a more precise therapy. With the abundance of genetic tests available, interpreting the results correctly is the challenge.

Bill elaborates, "Our job is to get the science of lab testing adopted in the industry. We have done that by working with health plans that have to adopt coverage for the testing, to be paid for the labs that perform the testing, and then the physician experts who either define the testing when it's useful or who are ordering the testing. We live in an ecosystem where we work with all those parties to ensure that good genetic testing is adopted, that the results are understood, and that they are acted upon appropriately."

"The real issue is understanding when a test can be useful to a patient and a doctor. Just because we can sequence DNA doesn't mean we understand what it means or what to do about it. I would suggest to you that one of the reasons we have heard the phrase precision medicine for so long but have not seen as much of that get adopted is we haven't understood the link between what we see in the DNA and what we know to do about it. I'll give you a couple of examples."

"One, cancer. Cancer has been an area where we have, for some time, understood that certain genetic predispositions or even mutations can drive cancer or suggest that cancer could be worse. We have just recently had therapies that target those mutations. Now, we've got several great therapies that are tied to that. Previously, just doing the analysis may have had no real benefit to the patient or maybe later had some prognostic capability, but now actually has therapeutic relevance. That's been very important." 

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Download the transcript here