Preparing EHRs for the Genomic Age

In the twenty-seventh installment of the PhenoTips Speaker Series, Director Emeritus of Geisinger’s Department of Genomic Health, Dr. Marc S. Williams discusses readying EHRs for the genomic health revolution.


Existing Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems are not equipped to handle the volume and complexity of genomic data. The lack of inclusion, understanding, and integration of genomic care in the clinical databases of EHRs could result in medical decisions that lack complete utilization of a patient’s medical profile. To address the ways that EHRs hold the potential to aid practitioners if they can be made compatible with storing, recording, and structuring genomic data, PhenoTips invited EHR and genomics thought leader Dr. Marc S. Williams to speak about preparing EHRs for the genomic age.

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Dr. Marc S. Williams is a clinical geneticist, professor, and director emeritus of Geisinger’s Department of Genomic Health. He is the co-PI of the Geisinger eMERGE project and has served as the medical director of Geisinger’s undiagnosed disease genome sequencing clinical research project. Dr. Williams has authored over 250 articles with current research focused on the implementation of genomic and precision medicine. He currently serves on the NHGRI Genomic Medicine working group and is a member of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) Board of Directors, where he is the immediate past-president and has held a previous role as Vice-President for Clinical Genetics. He has participated in the Personalized Medicine Workgroup of the Department of Health and Human Services’ American Health Information Community Task Force, was a member of the Secretary’s Advisory Committee for Genetics, Health and Society, and served as a member of the EGAPP working group. He is past chair of the ACMG Committee on the Economics of Genetic Services and founded the ACMG Quality Improvement Special Interest Group. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Clinical Pharmacogenetic Implementation Consortium, the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Project, and Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man.

In this discussion, Dr. Marc S. Williams addresses:

  • Current shortcomings of EHR systems in the genomics age
  • Barriers faced in expanding EHR systems to be compatible with genomic information
  • The role of EHRs in advancing genomic medicine
  • Ethical, legal, and social implications involved in incorporating genomic information into EHRs

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