The Role of Electronic Health Records in Advancing Genomic Medicine

Jodell E. Linder, Lisa Bastarache, Jacob J. Hughey, and Josh F. Peterson

Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics (2021)


Recent advances in genomic technology and widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) have accelerated the development of genomic medicine, bringing promising research findings from genome science into clinical practice. Genomic and phenomic data, accrued across large populations through biobanks linked to EHRs, have enabled the study of genetic variation at a phenome-wide scale. Through new quantitative techniques, pleiotropy can be explored with phenome-wide association studies, the occurrence of common complex diseases can be predicted using the cumulative influence of many genetic variants (polygenic risk scores), and undiagnosed Mendelian syndromes can be identified using EHR-based phenotypic signatures (phenotype risk scores). In this review, we trace the role of EHRs from the development of genome-wide analytic techniques to translational efforts to test these new interventions to the clinic. Throughout, we describe the challenges that remain when combining EHRs with genetics to improve clinical care.

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