Dr. Leigh Copeland, M.D., Family Medicine, describes how integrating precision medicine through medication management and pharmacogenomics has made a difference in how she practices medicine. For more information on how this capability could enhance your practice, please see this “Case for Practice Integration,” or contact us.
DR. LEIGH COPELAND, M.D.
My name is Leigh Copeland. I’m a family medicine physician here in Bessemer, Alabama. I have been in this practice for 13 years and I have an ambulatory and outpatient family medicine clinic. It’s mostly adult medicine. I have a lot of complicated patients with diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol issues, strokes, and heart attacks. So, my patients traditionally are on multiple medications.
Do you have a specific situation in which one of your patients experienced better outcomes as a result of the integration of GenoPATH™ into your practice?
Right before Genopath started at my office, I was struggling with one of my older patients with uncontrolled hypertension. We were going up and up and up on his medicine and seeing really no results and it was baffling and adding other medications and it was just really frustrating to him and to me. And we did the Genopath testing, he was one of the first that we did and his results showed that he had absolutely very little metabolism for the particular drug I was aggressively adjusting.
But it suggested an alternative in that class and when I switched to the alternative, his blood pressure responded perfectly. So it was a cheaper medication for him and a much lower dose and it also explained what was wrong. That made me a real fan of this testing and the technology that comes with it and the information that we can learn from patient pathways. It uncovers the mystery of why medicines work and don’t work in some people.
And before we’ve just, now I realize, we were just throwing things at people with indications of treatment, but really not understanding if they were going to benefit form this medicine or not. So much of medicine is trial and error really and now we can predict which medication is going to work first hand or at least take people off medicines that aren’t benefitting them and switch them to something that’s way more beneficial and sometimes we have a cost savings as well so that’s so beneficial for the patient.
What challenges did you initially face and how did GenoPATH™ help you overcome those challenges?
In this day and age of electronic medicine and all of the changes the government really has required in medicine, we are strapped for personnel and we are all working, doing so many more tasks each day than previously.
One reason I was intimidated to initiate this testing process is because I thought it would be labor intensive on my staff. GenoPATH offered to have a tech in my office to perform the test and do all of the paperwork and mail the test to the company and just take care of giving me the results and helping me interpret the results initially. And that was very helpful.
It is difficult to try to incorporate any new testing or procedures in your office if you’re running a staff like mine, so when the company actually offered to have a tech with me two days a week and that was just huge. And so now I’m able to do it and it is really effortless on my part.
It has given me a lot of information that has helped me change and tailor to patient medication to be most effective for that patient and this company has been very supportive and really helpful in integrating this new technology in a very seamless way into your practice. They provide the manpower, they provide all the technical help you need, all you have to do is provide the patients. The reports are super easy to read now and interpret and the patients are really interested. They want to know the results of their DNA test! They love having a card in their wallet that gives them their DNA results. It’s going to benefit any future physician, any other clinician, that’s trying to treat this patient. They will have the benefit of this forever and they can choose and tailor future therapies to most benefit their patients.
I think its super helpful!