Release 5 Draft Ballot

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Clinical Genomics Work Group Maturity Level: 1 Standards Status: Trial Use

The era of precision medicine-- an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person-- is upon us.

Precision medicine is fueled by the amazing technological advancements in genomics, making it possible (and feasible) to undertake broad genetic testing on an individual in a clinically useful timeframe. Whereas not so long ago genomics was primarily of concern to bioinformaticists interacting with such artifacts as alignment (e.g. BAM, CRAM) and variant calling (e.g. VCF) data files, we are now seeing tremendous interest across the clinical community for integrating genomics findings and recommendations into the EHR and into the care process. To that end, the HL7 Clinical Genomics Work Group is developing a set of standards for reporting structured genomic data using FHIR.

An individual's genetic data set is large and complex, and therefore requires systems that can manage the size and make sense of the complexity. Unfortunately, due to a lack of widely adopted standards, these systems are often incompatible. A standards-based approach to data exchange that could be adopted to integrate both genetic data and clinical information systems will be crucial to accelerating the integration of precision medicine and to make sense of genetic testing results in a complete clinical context.

The Clinical Genomics Work Group supports the HL7 mission to create and promote its standards by enabling the semantically meaningful exchange of data between parties interested in clinical, personal, and population genomic information and family health history, which are required to support precision medicine. The committee's work products include:

  • Genomics Reporting Implementation Guide: Standardizes the reporting of genomic variants, haplotypes, genotypes, variant annotations, and more.

  • MolecularSequence Resource: A resource representing a nucleotide or protein polymer. This resource was created prior to the development of the Genomics Reporting Implementation Guide. Because of this, there are currently redundancies between the two which need to be reconciled (e.g., variants), and MolecularSequence will be refactored in the future to reduce this redundancy as much as possible. Wherever possible, defer to the Genomics Reporting IG to guide your approach reporting genomics lab results.

Uses of these FHIR artifacts and other genomic use cases can be found here