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GA4GH Updates Strategic Plan to Emphasize Interoperability of Genomic, Clinical Data

NEW YORK — The Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) this week released a major update to its strategic plan as it seeks to become a more influential standards body. This is the first refresh of the strategic plan since GA4GH incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 2020 after years of operating under an informal community structure.

The update is a roadmap of sorts for achieving GA4GH's three main priorities: improving interoperability between GA4GH and external genomic data standards, offering better support for implementation of technical standards, and closer alignment with clinical data standards.

The latter is seen as key to wider adoption of precision medicine in clinical practice, as there currently is an issue with expressing genotypes in electronic health records. GA4GH also has historically had little direct contact with EHR vendors over the years, though that is improving.

"We hope these strategic updates, which are really a formalization of work that's been underway for some time, will help members of the broader community who are not yet active in GA4GH to find their place and get involved," Angela Page, a Broad Institute employee and director of strategy and engagement for GA4GH, said in a statement. Page led the update of the strategic plan.

"It's now vital that we put GA4GH standards into practice," added Ewan Birney, chair of GA4GH, deputy director of the European Molecular Biology Lab (EMBL), and director of EMBL's European Bioinformatics Institute. "The GA4GH Implementation Forum will help accelerate this effort through global collaboration, leading to even more interoperable systems."