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Doc Talk | Geisinger Holy Spirits learning more about genetic coding

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It's one thing to treat a disease.

It's another to prevent it.

And that's exactly what Geisinger Holy Spirit is trying to do with its "My Code" system.

"My Code" is a bio bank used by Geisinger Holy Spirit to better understand genetics.

Doctors there are trying to get patients to sign up so they can study their genes and prevent patients from getting diseases they're at risk for.

"We feel that genetics will be part of the future of healthcare," said Andy Faucett, Geisinger Holy Spirit Director of Policy and Education.

There are close to 175,000 patients total participating in the program.

"By accumulating the medical records of a large number of people along with the sequencing their genetics, writing their code down, we can help find causes of diseases," explained Facuett.

The other goal is to look for changes that could be prevented for anyone who signs up.

"If we find a genetic change that is known to cause problems in a small set of diseases, we would share that info with them," said Faucett.

And find a way to treat it.

My-Code launched back in 2007.

Geisinger patients can sign up on the "My Geisinger Portal" online and in-person when they come for an appointment or over the phone. The next time they come for blood work doctors will take a few extra samples for further inspection.

"Currently in medicine most of the time you have to get sick and then we try to figure out why you’re sick and we try to help you feel better," explained Facuett. "What we’d really like to do is see can we keep you from getting sick?"

If you'd like to learn more about My-Code Geisinger Holy Spirit is hosting an event on November 13 at 7 p.m. at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg.

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