2020 vision of the future – the National Health Genomics Policy Framework

Adenosine, Guanine, Cytosine and Thymidine – these four bases are rearranged in vast numbers of different sequences within our DNA, and this genetic information in turn is the very foundation of how our bodies are built. As our understanding of human genetics progresses, researchers are increasingly looking to the practical applications of this knowledge to healthcare. The possibilities are dazzling: many now think that genomics is the future of healthcare.

In view of these developments, it is clear that Australia’s health policy makers need to consider the potential application of genomics in their forward planning. To this end, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council recently endorsed the National Health Genomics Policy Framework, which was produced by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council’s Hospitals Principal Committee, with input from an advisory group representing each jurisdiction, as well as extensive stakeholder consultation.

This framework identifies five key priorities to support the integration of genomics into health care over the next three years (2018 to 2020). The priorities are: a person-centred approach; building a skilled workforce; ensuring sustainable investment; maximising the quality and safety of genomics in healthcare; and the responsible collection and handling of genomic data.

The full report and supplementary information are available from the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council website. Healthcare executives and policy makers should check it out, as well as anyone who wants an insight into what may be the future of healthcare.