Genomics and Digital Health

Advances in DNA sequencing have made it possible to analyse an individual’s entire genome relatively quickly and inexpensively. This has opened up new possibilities for using AI in genomics to improve healthcare. A vast quantity of genetic data can now be analysed by AI to identify patterns not apparent to the human eye. This can help in several ways, for example, analysing data from large datasets can identify genetic markers for diseases. Thus providing the ability to inform patients at high risk of developing a particular disease and recommend preventative steps. Progress in genomics is such that it now has the potential to revolutionise healthcare by providing a more precise understanding of an individual’s genetic makeup.

What skills and knowledge do future doctors need?

In 2018 Dr. Eric Topol, a Professor of Molecular Medicine and leading American cardiologist authored a report for the UK’S NHS 1. This report addresses the need to train the future workforce of the NHS on emerging technologies to be prepared for the digital revolution in healthcare. The skills he recommends that undergraduate doctors receive include electronic health records (EHRs), artificial intelligence (AI), and Genomics. Topol recommends that apart from understanding the principle of genetics, and the potential clinical applications of genomic medicine. Doctors need to understand the use of genetic testing for diagnosis and prognosis, the potential for genomic data to inform treatment decisions as well as the ethical, legal and social implications of genomic medicine.

  1. Topol, E. J. (2018). The Topol Review: Preparing the Healthcare Workforce to Deliver the Digital Future. London: Department of Health and Social Care.