Use of Real-World Evidence in US Payer Coverage Decision-Making for Next-Generation Sequencing–Based Tests: Challenges, Opportunities, and Potential Solutions



Given the potential of real-world evidence (RWE) to inform understanding of the risk–benefit profile of next-generation sequencing (NGS)–based testing, we undertook a study to describe the current landscape of whether and how payers use RWE as part of their coverage decision making and potential solutions for overcoming barriers.


We performed a scoping literature review of existing RWE evidentiary frameworks for evaluating new technologies and identified barriers to clinical integration and evidence gaps for NGS. We synthesized findings as potential solutions for improving the relevance and utility of RWE for payer decision-making.


Payers require evidence of clinical utility to inform coverage decisions, yet we found a relatively small number of published RWE studies, and these are predominately focused on oncology, pharmacogenomics, and perinatal/pediatric testing. We identified 3 categories of innovation that may help address the current undersupply of RWE studies for NGS: (1) increasing use of RWE to inform outcomes-based contracting for new technologies, (2) precision medicine initiatives that integrate clinical and genomic data and enable data sharing, and (3) Food and Drug Administration reforms to encourage the use of RWE. Potential solutions include development of data and evidence review standards, payer engagement in RWE study design, use of incentives and partnerships to lower the barriers to RWE generation, education of payers and providers concerning the use of RWE and NGS, and frameworks for conducting outcomes-based contracting for NGS.


We provide numerous suggestions to overcome the data, methodologic, infrastructure, and policy challenges constraining greater integration of RWE in assessments of NGS.


Patricia A. Deverka Michael P. Douglas Kathryn A. Phillips

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