The healthcare industry is experiencing a revolution with the emergence of precision medicine. Utilising an innovative approach that’s more tailored to an individual not only helps in making a more accurate diagnosis and streamlined treatment plan, it greatly improves the overall outcome for the patient.
Although the idea of personalised treatment plans has been endorsed by experts for some time, the actual practice of precision medicine is still a relatively young concept. Traditional approaches to treatments for some conditions, such as certain cancers, are beginning to look outdated. With little choice in the types of therapies offered, it’s no surprise that many of these treatments have poor success rates in some patients.
Fortunately, things are beginning to change and precision medicine is already being used within a number of healthcare settings.
An approach that uses precision medicine enables healthcare professionals to develop treatments tailored to an individual patient. One way in which precision medicine is transforming healthcare is through genomics. Genetic profiling and sanger sequencing can help to identify genes that predispose an individual to certain disease or conditions. It can also help to match those individuals to the most effective treatments. Using this streamlined approach not only benefits the patient, it helps to keep costs down in the long-term and saves time.
Precision medicine has been shown to be particularly beneficial when it comes to detecting and treating cancers. Cancers vary widely, not just by type, but by cause. Also, individual tumour physiology and blood supply will also vary between different patients. This means that the same treatment won’t work for different cancers. Moreover, how much an individual can tolerate certain treatments also differs, as does the way their bodies metabolise different medicines. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach is not ideal when targeting cancers. Again, genetic sequencing can help out in applying a personalised approach to identifying the best treatment options.
Precision medicine is helping to transform paediatric healthcare. This approach is being used significantly for conditions like genetic or acquired child movement disorders, such as tics, ataxia, functional neurological disorders and more. Furthermore, technologies using genomic sequencing are often used in diagnosing a number of common childhood neurodevelopmental disorders, such as cerebral palsy and autism spectrum disorders. This is where precision medicine is particularly impacting on the healthcare industry because childhood conditions can be more challenging to identify than adult conditions. Young children might struggle to verbalise what they’re feeling and it’s not uncommon for them to be misdiagnosed.
Although precision medicine is still relatively new, there is no doubt that it is transforming the landscape of healthcare. While traditional approaches to medical treatments are still widely used, there seems to be a gradual shift towards more tailored methods occurring. Not only do personalised methods save time and money, they are more likely to result in a better outcome for patients. However, implementing precision medicine on a large scale will require major investments in digital infrastructure and support systems. Healthcare IT help desk support will need to be equipped to assist clinicians with the data management and analytical tools needed to provide individualized care. The improvements in cancer treatment and in the diagnosis and management of childhood illnesses are plain to see. As precision medicine becomes more widespread, dedicated help desk support will be critical for tackling the learning curve and enabling providers. It’s therefore reasonable to assume that the future of healthcare will be reliant on precision medicine.