06 Oct 2022

techUK hosts Genomics Interoperability workshop with NHS England

On 4th October techUK hosted a workshop with the Genomics Interoperability team at NHS England.

For the initial presentation, covering the current landscape of Genomics since the inception of the 100, 000 Genomes project and the future of Genomics in healthcare, we were joined by:

  • Debbie Porter – Deputy Director, Transformation, Genomics Unit, NHS England.
  • Rachael Mein – Senior Laboratory Advisor, Lab and Scientific Team, Genomics Unit, NHS England.
  • John Fraser – Head of Informatics, Genomics Unit, NHS England; Data and Informatics Director, North East and Yorkshire NHS GLH

The Genomic Interoperability Challenge

The team outlined current issues created by a fragmented system lacking a standardised language and provided an overview of the current strategic direction for genomics.

The Life Sciences Vision and NHS Long Term Plan went some way towards outlining a strategic approach to genomics in the UK. However, there is still a need to clearly set out the direction of travel for genomics in the NHS, and the Genomics Strategy is expected on 12 October. In addition, a Future Informatics Strategy, with interoperability at its core, will be published within the year.

Genomics is the next paradigm shift in medicine, holding the key to personalised medicine. The impact will be wide-ranging and touch clinical practice and workforce development, enabling the public to understand what is best for the individual.

There is an enormous transformation programme underway to set up Secure Data Environments across the NHS, connecting across the seven NHS Genomics Laboratory Hubs and enabling the 100,000 Genomes project. The aim is to connect with the NHS at a system level, utilising the evolution of Integrated Care Systems and shared care records.

For research, anonymised data will eventually be pushed into a trusted research environment and a secure data environment. The NHS acts as the custodian of the data for the patient, releasing the data to the patient in a way they can make use of. Need to move to more accessibility of data. Already have secure gateway into the research environment.

The Genomics Medicine Service is a centrally commissioned service serving as a directory of the range of genomic tests available to all eligible patients, aiming to provide equity of access and standardization. There are 7 regional hubs, with NHS Trusts from each region feeding into one hub.  

The team outlined several challenges concerning whole system transformation, including:

  1. Variation in access
  2. Dispersed infrastructure, with seven separate hubs
  3. Lack of performance data
  4. Lack of staff, with clinical leadership currently concentrated in clinical genetics
  5. Embedding of innovation and new technologies
  6. Lack of IT connectivity

Download the full presentation here

Leontina Postelnicu

Leontina Postelnicu

Head of Health and Social Care, techUK

Robert Walker

Robert Walker

Programme Manager, Health and Social Care & Justice and Emergency Services, techUK

Alex Lawrence

Alex Lawrence

Programme Manager, Health and Social Care, techUK

Tracy Modha

Team Assistant - Markets, techUK