Estonia is a potential model system for implementing genome medicine, says prof. Eric Lander

Full text onĀ genomeweb.

With its information technology infastructure and biological resources, Estonia could be a model system for how the rest of the world should integrate genomic medicine into public health and prevention efforts, according to Eric Lander, president of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

On 12 December 2014, Professor Lander gave a public lecture at the Estonian Genome Center entitled “Genetic Basis of Human Disease: The past and future of genomic medicine”.

“In many ways, Estonia is at the cutting edge of what is possible,” Lander, said during a talk on Friday at the University of Tartu. Estonia has been a world leader in information and communication technology, [and] because of that they have the opportunity to do the types of medical studies that are very hard to do in the US.”

“The idea that a whole country got itself this organized is very impressive,” said Lander. For instance, he noted that Estonian clinicians, provided with new genomic information, have the ability to go back to a patient to advise them of, say, an enhanced risk of developing glaucoma, which could result in various preventative healthcare steps. And given the centralization and accessibility of such information, it is possible to share the information between doctors, no matter where they are located. “We in the US are all working hard, but we don’t have interoperable health records,” he added. Even within the Partners Healthcare system in Boston, two hospitals sometimes cannot exchange data because there are different systems,” he said. “All of the hard work to make things interoperable has been done here.”

The original text can be found here