Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Enabling Personalized Medicine through Health Information Technology: Advancing the Integration of Information

Enabling Personalized Medicine through Health Information Technology: Advancing the Integration of Information

Enabling Personalized Medicine through Health IT

From the Brookings Institute Executive Summary

With federal officials pursuing the goal of a personal human genome map under $1,000 in five years (White House, 2010), it is possible to envision a future where treatments are tailored to individuals’ genetic structures, prescriptions are analyzed in advance for likely effectiveness, and researchers study clinical data in real-time to learn what works. Implementation of these regimens creates a situation where treatments are better targeted, health systems save money by identifying therapies not likely to be effective for particular people, and researchers have a better understanding of comparative effectiveness (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, 2010).

Yet despite these benefits, consumer and system-wide gains remain limited by an outmoded policy regime.  Federal regulations were developed years before recent advances in gene sequencing, electronic health records, and information technology.  With scientific innovation running far ahead of public policy, physicians, researchers, and patients are not receiving the full advantage of latest developments.  Current policies should leverage new advances in genomics and personalized medicine in order to individualize diagnosis and treatment.  Similarly, policies creating incentives for the adoption of health information technology should ensure that the invested infrastructure is one that supports new-care paradigms as opposed to automating yesterday’s health care practices.

To determine what needs to be done, a number of key leaders from government, academia, non-profit organizations, and business were interviewed about ways to promote a better use of health information technology to enable personalized medicine.  The interviews focused on policy and operational issues surrounding interoperability, standards, data sharing protocols, privacy, predictive modeling, and rapid learning feedback models.

This paper outlines the challenges of enabling personalized medicine, as well as the policy and operational changes that would facilitate connectivity, integration, reimbursement reform, and analysis of information.   Our health system requires a seamless and rapid flow of digital information, including genomic, clinical outcome, and claims data.  Research derived from clinical care must feed back into assessment in order to advance care quality for consumers.  There currently are discrete data on diagnosis, treatment, medical claims, and health outcomes that exist in parts of the system, but it is hard to determine what works and how treatments differ across subgroups.  Changes in reimbursement practices would better align incentives with effective health care practices……

A related commentary…

A commentary featured in the January 19 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) from AHRQ Health IT grant recipient, Alex Krist, M.D. calls for the design of a patient-centered health information system that goes beyond the Personal Health Record.  Krist explains that in order for technology to be used, a system should be designed to help patients access health information, interpret data from multiple sources and serve as a tool to facilitate action.  Select to access the abstract.
(For suggestions on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here)

Related articles

Despite increasing Internet availability, the ‘digital divide’ (disparities in access to technology) appears to exist among primary care patients adopting an online personal health record, according to a report in the March 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. “The personal health record (PHR) is an Internet-based set of tools that allows people to access and coordinate their lifelong health information,” the authors write as background information in the article..

February 1, 2011 - Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , , , , ,

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