DNA Testing: The future of disability management


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Major motion picture ‘Gattaca’, a mid 90’s cult classic, depicts a dystopian future in which genetically-enhanced elites rule over lesser “organic” humans. Some 25 years after its release, the scientific advancements underpinning Gattaca’s theme have become a reality.

One such example is pharmacogenetics, the study of how genes affect a person’s response to drugs. This new field combines pharmacology and genomics to develop medications tailored to a person’s genetic makeup.

Currently available drugs are “one size fits all,” but they don’t work the same way for everyone. This makes it hard to predict who’ll benefit from a medication, and who will experience negative side effects. But pharmacogenomics is now allowing the development of bespoke drugs to treat a wide range of illnesses.

Plan sponsors and insurers are increasingly wading into the waters of pharmacogenetic testing. In 2017, Sun Life partnered with the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health for a pilot project that offered pharmacogenetic testing to plan members on disability leave due to a mental injury. After seeing very positive results, it embedded pharmacogenetic testing into its disability management toolkit.

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About Me

Ben Barfett, Principal and Consultant, has spent his life in the construction sector, specifically heavy civil, enviro, commercial, and energy. Having held senior roles in business development, technical advisory, and regional management, he earned his stripes in the field and in head office. Conscious of the interplay between commercial, legal, and execution aspects of construction, his business insights are informed by expertise in WCB policy and enhanced with disability-specific training.

Blue Collar Consulting

Blue Collar Consulting is a WCB and disability management firm. The company specializes in rapid and affordable disability solutions that advance current claims, contain the cost of future claims, and get injured workers back on their feet.