In 2015, President Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) in his State of the Union Address to enable a new era of medicine where providers, patients and researchers collaborate on individualized care. Together with Congress, then-President Obama passed the 21st Century Cures Act helping this vision become one step closer to reality by earmarking more than a billion dollars in PMI.
The renewed focus on PMI is an opportunity to dig into the initiative and further define what it means for healthcare. Clarity-of-message and terms is critical in PR and marketing; there is nothing worse than reading an article full of buzzwords and no articulate message. Since there still remains some ambiguity around what precision medicine means, we turned to our experts in the field to gather together what the buzzword means to them.
“Precision medicine is the collision of the latest research on best practices in medicine together with the personal health data that makes each patient unique. The personal health data being collected is exploding and becoming more clinically relevant. Research around the patients’ unique responses to medication and other treatments is becoming more specific to each patient thanks to things like genomics. Combine all these together and the care a patient receives becomes more precise. That’s Precision Medicine.” – John Lynn, founder of HealthcareScene.com
“Precision medicine is an emerging area of healthcare in which treatment is customized to the individual. While currently immature, the potential power of precision medicine could transform healthcare by using genetics and big data to move past the traditional ‘one-size-fits-all’ healthcare model we are all used to.” – Rajiv Leventhal, managing editor at Healthcare Informatics
“Precision medicine may be a buzzword today. But it really is a new and much-needed approach to delivering healthcare tailored to individual patients’ needs, genetic history and socioeconomic background. And recent dramatic advances in big data, analytics and cognitive computing in health IT will make precision, or personalized, medicine more practical and affordable for patients and healthcare providers in the near future.” – Shaun Sutner, news editor at Search Health IT
While each of these viewpoints is unique, they also share a common element: there is still a lot that needs to be done to define and qualify the buzzword in healthcare today. Below are a few steps to help us get there:
- Encourage interoperability among EHRs and all HIT solutions, including tools for patient engagement and population health management. FHIR APIs will help streamline this process, but there is more that can be done to make it easier to share information from providers.
- Boost governance of healthcare security. Providers should take the initiative now to reconsider their privacy policies for patients and ensure they are HIPAA compliant – don’t forget to ensure security for texting, video conferencing, and calling patients and caregivers.
- Empower patients to continue owning their care. Telemedicine and patient engagement tools have transformed the patient-doctor relationship, but healthcare consumers can do more to manage their care (e.g., checking the pricing transparency of operations from providers in their regions, tracking health information in an app that validates data, etc.)
As we work with clients in the HIT space, it’s important for us to stay on the pulse of Precision Medicine and related regulations set forth by the 21st Century Cures Act. By staying up-to-date on these trends and others, we provide clients with recommendations for positioning their products and services to gain market share, build awareness for themselves and their experts, and ultimately inform the future of this model.