Hereditary cancer accounts for up to 10 percent of new diagnoses. Advances in genome sequencing have made widespread adoption of affordable genetic testing possible, which can identify patients at-risk of hereditary cancer. But there are only about 4,000 practicing genetic counselors nationwide—which is one for every 80,000 Americans—making it unscalable to refer out for genetic testing. Adventist Health, with more than 20 hospitals in four states, set up its Adventist Health Early All-Around Detection (AHEAD) program as a population hereditary cancer risk assessment initiative. The AHEAD program leverages a technology platform to identify candidates for genetic testing, offer education and testing, and provide counseling across the system and in various specialties.
Clinics participating in the AHEAD program demonstrate dramatically higher rates of routine cancer screening for all their patients. We will announce the latest data and figures live at the HIMSS meeting. For most patients at average risk, this promotes early detection.