Breaking Barriers to Rapid Whole Genome Sequencing in Pediatrics: Michigan’s Project Baby Deer

Caleb P. Bupp, Elizabeth G. Ames, Madison K. Arenchild, Sara Caylor, David P. Dimmock, Joseph D. Fakhoury, Padmani Karna, April Lehman, Cristian I. Meghea, Vinod Misra, Danielle A. Nolan, Jessica O’Shea, Aditi Sharangpani, Linda S. Franck, Andrea Scheurer-Monaghan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The integration of precision medicine in the care of hospitalized children is ever evolving. However, access to new genomic diagnostics such as rapid whole genome sequencing (rWGS) is hindered by barriers in implementation. Michigan’s Project Baby Deer (PBD) is a multi-center collaborative effort that sought to break down barriers to access by offering rWGS to critically ill neonatal and pediatric inpatients in Michigan. The clinical champion team used a standardized approach with inclusion and exclusion criteria, shared learning, and quality improvement evaluation of the project’s impact on the clinical outcomes and economics of inpatient rWGS. Hospitals, including those without on-site geneticists or genetic counselors, noted positive clinical impacts, accelerating time to definitive treatment for project patients. Between 95–214 hospital days were avoided, net savings of $4155 per patient, and family experience of care was improved. The project spurred policy advancement when Michigan became the first state in the United States to have a Medicaid policy with carve-out payment to hospitals for rWGS testing. This state project demonstrates how front-line clinician champions can directly improve access to new technology for pediatric patients and serves as a roadmap for expanding clinical implementation of evidence-based precision medicine technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • genetics
  • genomics
  • hospital medicine
  • medical technology and advancement
  • pediatrics
  • quality improvement
  • rapid whole genome sequencing
  • reimbursement


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