Cost Analyses of Genomic Sequencing: Lessons Learned from the MedSeq Project

Value Health. 2018 Sep;21(9):1054-1061. doi: 10.1016/j.jval.2018.06.013. Epub 2018 Aug 14.


Objective: To summarize lessons learned while analyzing the costs of integrating whole genome sequencing into the care of cardiology and primary care patients in the MedSeq Project by conducting the first randomized controlled trial of whole genome sequencing in general and specialty medicine.

Methods: Case study that describes key methodological and data challenges that were encountered or are likely to emerge in future work, describes the pros and cons of approaches considered by the study team, and summarizes the solutions that were implemented.

Results: Major methodological challenges included defining whole genome sequencing, structuring an appropriate comparator, measuring downstream costs, and examining clinical outcomes. Discussions about solutions addressed conceptual and practical issues that arose because of definitions and analyses around the cost of genomic sequencing in trial-based studies.

Conclusions: The MedSeq Project provides an instructive example of how to conduct a cost analysis of whole genome sequencing that feasibly incorporates best practices while being sensitive to the varied applications and diversity of results it may produce. Findings provide guidance for researchers to consider when conducting or analyzing economic analyses of whole genome sequencing and other next-generation sequencing tests, particularly regarding costs.

Keywords: cardiomyopathy; costs; humans; hypertrophic; pilot study; primary health care; random allocation; whole genome sequencing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cardiology Service, Hospital / standards
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Genomics / instrumentation
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Genomics / trends
  • Humans
  • Primary Health Care / standards
  • Whole Genome Sequencing / economics*
  • Whole Genome Sequencing / standards