Thanks to 21st century technology, personalization has entered various aspects of our lives from multiple dimensions and it is steadily becoming an integral part of it. Thanks to cognitive and innovative technologies, our needs and requirements are acutely understood, pondered over and accommodated with thoughtful aids. Domains such as telecommunications and retail have leveraged the use of detailed customer data which has led to the rise of innovative products that customers love, combined with unique business models.
Now, healthcare is about to rapidly catch up and join the “personalization” bandwagon too. We stand on the brink of a global healthcare revolution fueled by advancements in health informatics, genomics and smart wearable technology. As healthcare providers gather large amounts of data about human beings, their cultural backgrounds, their habits, their lifestyles, and their behavior, they are beginning to get a much better view of their overall health. The onus lies on these providers to maximize the true potential of this data pile and derive meaningful and impactful insights to provide an integrated and structured analysis for personalized medicine for customers.
Personalized medicine is also changing the approach towards diagnosis and treatments for caregivers and patients. Throughout the history of medicine, clinicians have always tried to understand their patient needs based on their symptoms and feedback, but never before, have they held the power to gauge disease susceptibility, early stage detection and patient response to specific therapeutic interventions. Clinicians are about to move past traditional symptomatic treatment of patients, to providing highly targeted healthcare based on distinctive individual makeup, ethnicity and exposure.
With in-depth knowledge of disease prognosis, insights into an individual’s genetic makeup and molecular bio-markers, personalized medicine promises to defragment the healthcare sector into one that is holistic in nature. This can facilitate the easy transition of inert healthcare payees to active value-seeking beneficiaries – e.g. it has facilitated a four-fold increase in personalized cancer treatment options over the last decade. This enables patients to use a therapy regimen that responds best to their genomic variants, thus reducing “trial and error” prescriptions. This targeted approach also reduces hospital re-admission rates by fostering efficient adherence to treatment and improving patient compliance.
Innovations in technology also ensure that healthcare systems are benefited by reduced inefficiencies. This is primarily because predictive diagnosis can encourage preventive care models. Tremendous value can be generated from preemptive disease prediction thanks to enhance choice of customized therapies, assessment of drug responses and removal of inadequate treatment procedures. A recent study based on family history and genetic testing predicted a 37 percent cost reduction in treatment of breast cancer and a 60 percent drop in incidences of metastatic diseases thanks to personalized healthcare solutions.
Drug discovery is also undergoing a paradigm shift thanks to the development of drugs that no longer treat “average” patients, but a systematized cohort instead. Today, over 100 FDA approved drugs include genetic (pharmacogenomic) information in their labels. Biopharmaceutical research and development is also leveraging “molecular diagnosis” to focus on stratified patient sub-populations, thereby accelerating clinical trials and highlighting the demonstration of clinical efficacy.
Personalized medicine is a positively disruptive innovation that requires collaboration from entrepreneurs, researchers, scientists and clinicians – within and across industries and also between the public and private sectors. As the lines between the health and wellness sectors begin to blur, challenges galore will arise in a brand new territory. Sustainability will require cross-industry collaboration, technical expertise and long-term vision. It is thus imperative for the government to hasten amendments in healthcare delivery policies and regulatory environments.