Genomics-based technologies are increasingly used in clinical care and are highly relevant to public health because of their potential use in assessing risk, diagnosing, and developing treatment plans. Access to genomic tests often depends on cost and coverage of services by the health plan. No studies, to our knowledge, identify whether access and reimbursement issues relating to guideline-recommended pharmacogenomic tests exist, and what the potential implications of barriers to access and/or differential access for patients, providers, and society are. This current investigation will be th first study, to our knowledge, that focuses on guideline-recommended pharmacogenomic tests that have sufficient evidence for implementation into clinical practice. Our objective is to examine access and reimbursement issues and implications from the perspectives of relevant stakeholders.
For Aim 1, we will review and compare coverage policies of major insurers to determine differences in access to guideline-recommended pharmacogenomic tests and to assess if coverage policies comply with evidence- based clinical guidelines.
Aim 2 involves a qualitative study to explore perspectives of patients and providers based on their experienced or perceived barriers to access. Payers/insurers will also be interviewed to identify factors influencing coverage decisions on pharmacogenomic tests and the decision-making process.
Aim 3 will integrate results from our empirical research and theoretical frameworks to critically analyze ethical and policy implications of barriers to access and/or differential access to guideline-recommended pharmacogenomic tests. The study is being proposed at the right time as genomic health care expands rapidly and will be conducted by our experienced team with complementary expertise in health policy, genomics, and qualitative research. The proposed work is significant in that it will generate understanding of barriers to access in current practic and the decision making process. Our work will have broad impact on clinical practice and health policy. Findings can inform policymakers as they continue to refine the decision-making process and coverage policy design to allow affordable and equitable access to pharmacogenomic tests and other genomics-based technologies.

Public Health Relevance

Genomics-based health care is complex, rapidly evolving, and highly relevant to public health because of its potential use in assessing risk, diagnosing disease, and developing treatment plans. Access to genomic tests often depends on cost and coverage of services by the health plan. This project will systematically examine access and reimbursement issues relating to guideline-recommended pharmacogenomic tests and implications of barriers to access and/or differential access for patients, providers, and society. Understanding access barriers in current practice and decision-making processes will allow policy makers to develop coverage policies to optimize affordable and equitable access to guideline-recommended genomics-based technologies in order to improve population health.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
Type
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
Project #
1R21HG008510-01
Application #
8869850
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (SEIR)
Program Officer
Mcewen, Jean
Project Start
2015-07-23
Project End
2017-04-30
Budget Start
2015-07-23
Budget End
2016-04-30
Support Year
1
Fiscal Year
2015
Total Cost
$252,434
Indirect Cost
$98,511
Name
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Inc.
Department
Type
DUNS #
071721088
City
Boston
State
MA
Country
United States
Zip Code
02215
Wu, Ann Chen; Mazor, Kathleen M; Ceccarelli, Rachel et al. (2017) Access to Guideline-Recommended Pharmacogenomic Tests for Cancer Treatments: Experience of Providers and Patients. J Pers Med 7: