What is pharmacogenetics and how does it improve disability management?
We recently launched an innovative new program called InfluenceCare™, a tool kit of services designed to optimize disability management in various ways.
Some aspects are administrative – they’re about accelerating access to resources so employees are screened, assessed, treated, and able to return to work more quickly.
But we’re also looking at ways to positively influence care itself, and that’s what got us interested in the emerging field of pharmacogenetics. If you’ve never heard of pharmacogenetics you’re not alone: invariably when we’re talking to clients someone in the room asks for a definition. So here you have it…
Pharmocogenetics brings together two fields of research: pharmacology (the study of drugs) and genomics (the study of genes).
It’s the study of how genetic differences between individuals impacts how each of us metabolizes medication. These genetic variations influence the effects of a drug in two ways: its therapeutic benefits as well as its potential adverse effects on the patient. (For example, how the liver metabolizes medications is a crucially important factor for medications used to treat conditions like depression and anxiety disorders.)
Why is this important? Because medical scientists now understand that when it comes to pharmaceutical drugs, one size does not fit all. Two patients might require different dosages or different medications altogether to treat the same illness.
How it helps physicians, employees and employers
Pharmacogenetics is an important new information source for physicians – allowing them to offer more personalized, precise treatment than ever before.
For an employee on short-term disability, that means less risk of trial-and-error cycling through ineffective or even harmful medications before discovering the most effective treatment.
For employers, it means a healthier, more productive workforce, and fewer direct and indirect costs associated with employee absenteeism.
How it works
InfluenceCare pharmacogenetic testing is relatively simple:
A swab kit is provided to the employee, to be conducted at home
The employee mails the kit to the lab
Lab results are provided to the physician within one week