Personalized health care considers each patient’s genetic and biological profile before developing treatment plans, according to Helomics. Personalized health care technology tools, including wearable devices and DNA sequencing, help physicians assess the likelihood of patients developing diseases, detect diseases earlier, and intervene to minimize their impact.
Could this form of technology be closer to reality than we think? Learn more about the benefits of personalized health care technology, its champions, and progress in the health care industry.
What Are the Benefits of Personalized Health Care Technology?
Personalized health care technology targets patients at the individual level. An IBM Global Business Services report claims this form of technology will help reduce waste in the health care system. According to Peter Orszag, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, as much as $700 billion a year in the U.S. can be spent on health care efforts that do not improve health outcomes.
In a National Public Radio interview, he claimed, “It occurs because we pay for more care rather than better care.” The targeted capabilities of personalized health care technology should reduce this waste considerably.
As personalized health care aims to predict a patient’s likelihood of contracting any given disease and detect diseases earlier, this technology should also see incidences of illnesses decreasing. For example, Eric Dishman, Intel Fellow and general manager of Intel’s Health and Life Sciences division, told Phys.org that he believes the generation born between 1982 and 2003 could be the first in history to see a reduced threat of cancer.
The Jackson Laboratory also notes that personalized health care technology could make medical treatments more effective. According to its website, any prescribed medication is effective only for half of the population. By considering each patient’s individual makeup, physicians could feel more confident in prescribing medications that are more likely to work.
Who Wants Personalized Health Care Technology?
Both patients and physicians seem enthusiastic about personalized health care technology. Phys.org observes that patients, particularly millennials, are already using technology like smartphones and wearable devices to track their biometrics and practice preventive health. Personalized health care technology would naturally build on this environment. According to the Personalized Medicine Coalition, more than three-quarters of consumers say they would undergo diagnostic tests to develop personalized prevention or treatment plans.
Some doctors, including California cardiologist Dhruv Kazi, also support personalized health care. “Whether or not we should personalize care is no longer a question. We do better by the patients themselves; we know that outcomes are improved,” he told CNBC’s Dan Mangan, although he acknowledges the costs raise concern among many of his colleagues.
How Close Is Personalized Health Care Technology to Implementation?
With physicians already monitoring patient health through wearables and at-risk individuals undergoing genetic testing, personalized health care technology is already present to some degree. However, barriers still exist, including a lack of interoperable health information technology environments and inadequate data and knowledge standards, according to the IBM report. As Kazi stated, cost is also a concern.
However, the work of tech firms in the personalized health care field—outlined by the University of Illinois at Chicago, which studies health informatics—should make advocates feel hopeful.
Through the efforts of personalized health technology proponents, widespread adoption of this exciting customized health care development could be on the horizon.
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