The advancement of precision medicine requires new methods to coordinate and deliver genetic data from heterogeneous sources to physicians and patients. The eMERGE III Network enrolled >25,000 participants from biobank and prospective cohorts of predominantly healthy individuals for clinical genetic testing to determine clinically actionable findings. The network developed protocols linking together the 11 participant collection sites and 2 clinical genetic testing laboratories. DNA capture panels targeting 109 genes were used for testing of DNA and sample collection, data generation, interpretation, reporting, delivery, and storage were each harmonized. A compliant and secure network enabled ongoing review and reconciliation of clinical interpretations, while maintaining communication and data sharing between clinicians and investigators. A total of 202 individuals had positive diagnostic findings relevant to the indication for testing and 1,294 had additional/secondary findings of medical significance deemed to be returnable, establishing data return rates for other testing endeavors. This study accomplished integration of structured genomic results into multiple electronic health record (EHR) systems, setting the stage for clinical decision support to enable genomic medicine. Further, the established processes enable different sequencing sites to harmonize technical and interpretive aspects of sequencing tests, a critical achievement toward global standardization of genomic testing. The eMERGE protocols and tools are available for widespread dissemination.
Keywords: clinical sequencing; eMERGE; electronic health record; harmonization; next generation sequencing.
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