by: Andrew Ury MD, Chief Executive Officer, ActX
In real life, every patient is different, no one patient is average, but up to now the delivery of healthcare has in many respects focused on treating the “average” patient. If we can individualize treatment in a way that avoids medications that do not work for the patient or are likely to cause side effects, and individualize preventative screening of patients based on their personal risks, we can help fulfill the Triple Aim. The population will be healthier, patients will have a better experience, expensive, but ineffective, treatments will be avoided, and serious illnesses can be prevented. To accomplish this goal, innovation is essential.
Precision medicine, defined as applying genomic and molecular data to better target health care treatments and learn the pre-dispositions to a particular disease, is close to becoming a reality. In genomics, due to rapid technological advances, an explosion in medical knowledge is occurring. This has led to the recently announced national Precision Medicine Initiative. That said, our new knowledge is not sufficient in itself, for we have to find a practical way to reach routine medical practice. The most effective way to do this is to build precision medicine into the normal physician workflow at the point of care. Which in turn means that we should embed genomics decision support inside the Electronic Health Record (EHR).
I was one of the early EHR pioneers at a time when most people thought EHRs were not yet feasible. I saw first-hand how a well designed and implemented electronic record could substantially increase preventative screening and improve care.
My session at the National Healthcare Innovation Summit will discuss how it is now practical to embed decision support based on genomics into the EHR. Prescriptions can automatically be checked as they are written for efficacy, adverse effects, and dosing based on the patient’s genetics, and physicians can be alerted for evidence based, actionable genomic risks like certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases.