Personalized medicine: The trend that’s sweeping health care

By Morris Panner, Forbes

From cloud-based medical imaging platforms to artificial intelligence-powered diagnostics, health care continues to be the epicenter of digital innovations that are geared toward boosting patient care. Personalized medicine is another new wave sweeping health care with the dual objectives of achieving more meaningful patient-to-doctor relations and lowering costs. The lynchpin of this concept is leveraging all clinical, genetic and environmental information of the patient to understand and treat diseases in a more holistic manner.

Technology Is Emerging As The Key Driver Of Personalized Care

The foundation of personalized medicine rests on the emergence of new-fangled technology that is making certain diagnostic tests more affordable, accurate and more in sync with overall patient care requirements.

Take the case of all the improvements happening in the genetic sequencing domain. A genetic predisposition is a critical biomarker that increases the chances of a person developing a specific disorder. The cost of sequencing a full human genome is declining. I believe it won’t be long before the cost of a person’s genetic data reaches the levels of laboratory-based blood tests. We are fast approaching a future where a doctor will prescribe genetic sequencing as a part of a patient’s annual physical check-up.

Technologies like big data and analytics are finding their way into medicine as a means of gaining new insights into the biology of diseases, identifying and correlating large amounts of patient information, making sense of all this data and testing and applying it to patient care models. Big data tools can be used to bring together genetic information and other patient data sets to get  holistic, detailed patient insights. This will help doctors manage patient health in a more personalized manner.

Wearable health devices can play an important role in this regard. These devices can monitor the health and vital signs of the patient, conveying this information directly to the doctor who can then keep tabs on the biometric readings. This data can be integrated with the patient’s genome data to get a clear picture of the illness and the current state of the patient, allowing the doctor to make effective curative interventions specific to the patient. Read more …