Initiating an undiagnosed diseases program in the Western Australian public health system
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Background: New approaches are required to address the needs of complex undiagnosed diseases patients. These approaches include clinical genomic diagnostic pipelines, utilizing intra- and multi-disciplinary platforms, as well as specialty-specific genomic clinics. Both are advancing diagnostic rates. However, complementary cross-disciplinary approaches are also critical to address those patients with multisystem disorders who traverse the bounds of multiple specialties and remain undiagnosed despite existing intra-specialty and genomic-focused approaches. The diagnostic possibilities of undiagnosed diseases include genetic and non-genetic conditions. The focus on genetic diseases addresses some of these disorders, however a cross-disciplinary approach is needed that also simultaneously addresses other disorder types. Herein, we describe the initiation and summary outcomes of a public health system approach for complex undiagnosed patients- the Undiagnosed Diseases Program-Western Australia (UDP-WA). Results: Briefly the UDP-WA is: i) one of a complementary suite of approaches that is being delivered within health service, and with community engagement, to address the needs of those with severe undiagnosed diseases; ii) delivered within a public health system to support equitable access to health care, including for those from remote and regional areas; iii) providing diagnoses and improved patient care; iv) delivering a platform for in-service and real time genomic and phenomic education for clinicians that traverses a diverse range of specialties; v) retaining and recapturing clinical expertise; vi) supporting the education of junior and more senior medical staff; vii) designed to integrate with clinical translational research; and viii) is supporting greater connectedness for patients, families and medical staff. Conclusion: The UDP-WA has been initiated in the public health system to complement existing clinical genomic approaches; it has been targeted to those with a specific diagnostic need, and initiated by redirecting existing clinical and financial resources. The UDP-WA supports the provision of equitable and sustainable diagnostics and simultaneously supports capacity building in clinical care and translational research, for those with undiagnosed, typically rare, conditions.
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