The GEN-O application has proven its ability to revolution patient care and the genomic medicine landscape in the North West of England.

Originally developed by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), GEN-O is reshaping virtual care pathways, resulting in faster diagnosis, treatment, and collaborative multi-disciplinary efforts across clinical specialisms and geographic boundaries.

The platform seamlessly brings together a patient’s genomic information, simplifying the process of ordering genetic testing, reviewing results, and helping discussions across diverse disciplines. This comprehensive approach aims to provide the best possible care management and treatment for patients with rare diseases.

GEN-O was initially deployed within the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine at Saint Mary’s Hospital and Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, both part of MFT and is currently being expanded in other clinical areas across the trust.

Professor Graeme Black, clinical geneticist at MFT, said: “GEN-O can cross hospital boundaries, enhancing patient care, including diagnosis and treatment, whilst reducing burdens on clinical staff and enabling us to work in increasingly collaborative ways.

“GEN-O is a scalable solution, so our challenge is to see if we can continue to nurture the solution and bring its benefits to more trusts across the country.

The overarching goal of the GEN-O multi-site pilot project is to show its effectiveness at a geographical scale, introducing a new model of care for rare disease patients within the NHS, across the North West.

The project looks to showcase the benefits of widespread adoption of the GEN-O application. As a web-based tool, GEN-O, is designed to function across all NHS organisations, offering its benefits to all patients and referrers.

A collaborative effort, the project brings together MFT, the NHS North West Genomic Medicine Service Alliance (NW GMSA), the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), and Answer Digital 

Answer Digital supports organisations to use technology to improve their operations and were appointed by the NW GMSA, to support the project.  

Their work included undertaking feasibility studies as part of a discovery work with Salford Royal, part of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, as well as Alder Hey NHS Foundation Trust, to understand how the technology could be scaled across these organisations, understanding the “pain points” experienced by clinicians, visualising them and then translating them into practical solutions.  

Answer Digital implemented information governance processes across pilot sites, including a ‘review and approve’ cycle, in line with each trust’s processes, ensuring that the roll out of GEN-O is clinically safe, compliant with data security standards and cause minimal disruption to patient care.

Healthcare delivery principal at Answer Digital, Paul Wye, said: “By standardising the GEN-O tool and making it possible to scale its use, the potential to improve genomic medicine in North West England is huge.

“We are really proud to be a part of such important work with the NW GMSA, MFT, and the NIHR Manchester BRC, and look forward to seeing the project unfold and show other organisations across the NHS what is possible.”