How to Implement a Pharmacogenetics Service at your Institution

J Am Coll Clin Pharm. 2022 Nov;5(11):1161-1175. doi: 10.1002/jac5.1699. Epub 2022 Aug 27.


The vast majority of patients possess one or more pharmacogenetic variants that can influence optimal medication use. When pharmacogenetic data are used to guide drug choice and dosing, evidence points to improved disease outcomes, fewer adverse effects, and lower healthcare spending. Although its science is well established, clinical use of pharmacogenetic data to guide drug therapy is still in its infancy. Pharmacogenetics essentially involves the intersection of an individual's genetic data with their medications, which makes pharmacists uniquely qualified to provide clinical support and education in this field. In fact, most pharmacogenetics implementations, to date, have been led by pharmacists as leaders or members of a multidisciplinary team or as individual practitioners. A successful large-scale pharmacogenetics implementation requires coordination and synergy among administrators, clinicians, informatics teams, laboratories, and patients. Because clinical implementation of pharmacogenetics is in its early stages, there is an urgent need for guidance and dissemination of shared experiences to provide a framework for clinicians. Many early adopters of pharmacogenetics have explored various strategies among diverse practice settings. This article relies on the experiences of early adopters to provide guidance for critical steps along the pathway to implementation, including strategies to engage stakeholders; evaluate pharmacogenetic evidence; coordinate laboratory testing, results interpretation and their integration into the electronic health record; identify reimbursement avenues; educate providers and patients; and maintain a successful program. Learning from early adopters' published experiences and strategies can allow clinicians leading a new pharmacogenetics implementation to avoid pitfalls and adapt and apply lessons learned by others to their own practice.

Keywords: Implementation; Pharmacogenetics; Pharmacogenomics; Pharmacy.