Can computers make better genetic medication choices than Psychiatrists?

We have been asking ourselves lately a timely question. Can computers make a better genetic medication choice than a local Psychiatrists? I’m not sure what other Austin psychiatrists are talking about with their patients, but genetic testing has become a hot topic in my sessions with people. The genetic testing brand “23 & Me” is a common testing lab along with several others.  I think we all might have a curiosity about who we are and where we come from as explained by our genes. But the question that we have here at Pondworks is, can these tests really help with medical decisions?  Psychiatric decisions which are based on how we describe our feeling and behaviors might be even more complicated.  It takes many genes expressed in different ways to affect our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.  

Which genes interact with which medications?  

An attempt to answer this super complicated question comes from computer programs often titled, “Pharmacogenetic Decision Support Tools”. Again this brings up the topic of can computer make a better genetic medication choice for a patient than licensed local Psychiatrists? What do you, the reader think?

The idea we can use information from our genes to make medical decisions we call Precision Medicine.  Do these programs really work?  How much value do they add?

A line of Computer code
Can a Computer Really Compete With A Doctor?

Dr. Bernard Kim at Pondworks in Austin says let’s all “slow down!”  In a recent review (BMC Psychiatry 2017) Dr. Kim said: “We really don’t have any evidence base showing these tools are more effective than reviewing with your mental health provider.”  This is true for anxiety, depression and other disorders.

So if these psychiatric gene programs didn’t hang the moon and replace your psychiatrist, what then? Could it be a real possibility that there is a limited role for these tools?

Here in Austin at our officesPondworks, we welcome testing result from our patients even if we don’t jump to order them. One useful place for testing has to do with how we metabolize or clear drugs from our system in our liver.  In some cases it can genetic testing can add value in helping guess how a medication will be metabolized and cleared.

So hold the phone and don’t trade in your psychiatrist or psychiatric np for a computer quite yet. Or give us a call today to discuss what the best option could be for you here.