Originally published May 3.
By Turna Ray
Informed Medical Decisions' recent acquisition of Inherited Health expands the genetic counseling services provider's ability to offer detailed disease risk information for its customers.
In the acquisition, announced last week, Informed Medical Decisions gained a web-based platform that provides people with information about their inherited risk for disease based on family health history and other factors, including genetic information.
"Inherited Health's comprehensive library and proprietary risk assessment tools will allow Informed Medical Decisions to offer our patients more options for personalizing their healthcare and sharing valuable information with their family," CEO David Nixon said in a statement.
In addition to enabling people to collect, store, and update their family health history, the Inherited Health tool also factors in genetics, environmental factors, medical information, and drug use data to "produce a risk score for various diseases," Rebecca Sutphen, Informed Medical Decisions' chief medical officer, told PGx Reporter.
The company, which also goes by InformedDNA, is a national network of board-certified genetic counselors and geneticists that provides genetic counseling services through the telephone and the Internet. The company received URAC core accreditation last year.
In addition to counseling patients through private practitioners, hospital systems, cancer centers, and reproductive clinics, InformedDNA also provides independent genetic counseling services for consumer genetics firms, such as 23andMe.
DTC genetics firms calculate disease risks based solely on genetic information, so InformedDNA stands to benefit from customers of those firms who are looking for a more detailed risk profile.
According to Nixon, customers referred to the company from DTC genomics firms are screened for eligibility for genetic counseling based on established guidelines. "If a patient does not meet criteria for genetic counseling and they wish to pursue it nonetheless, they would have to pay out-of-pocket," Nixon said. "If the patient is appropriate for genetic counseling, InformedDNA coordinates payment through their insurance company."
Nixon couldn't estimate the out-of-pocket costs for individuals, since it varies based on the person's counseling needs. However, all the company's customers — whether they come from doctors' referrals or through consumer genetics firms — will now have access to risk assessments through Inherited Health's platform.
Currently, the majority of InformedDNA's customers are referred to the firm by doctors, according to Nixon. "Oncologists, breast surgeons, radiologists, Ob/Gyns, internists, family practice providers, and cardiologists following established guidelines are our top referring providers," Nixon said.
"InformedDNA files claims for reimbursement from insurers just like any clinician and, in fact, our services are reimbursable at in-network provider rates for more than 100 million Americans."
Under the terms of the acquisition, Inherited Health will become a wholly owned subsidiary of InformedDNA. Inherited Health CEO Lee Esner will join InformedDNA's board of directors. Additional details of the acquisition were not released.
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