As the healthcare industry grows and evolves, we see changes to the way patient care is provided. One such change is the move toward precision medicine as a way to provide more customized care on an individual basis. In this blog, we’ll explore what precision medicine is, how it benefits patients, and how you can get it started in your practice.
What is precision medicine?
Precision medicine, also referred to as personalized medicine, refers to an approach to patient care that considers genetics, environment, and lifestyle for each individual patient when customizing prevention and treatment plans. This approach is in stark contrast to the more traditional one-size-fits-all approach to patient care, in which prevention and treatment is formulated for the average patient without consideration of individual differences. Precision medicine aims to identify the appropriate therapies for specific individuals at the appropriate moment.
How does precision medicine benefit patients?
Precision medicine benefits patients in a number of ways. First, this approach to care moves the focus from reaction to prevention. Through precision medicine, clinicians can use genetic markers that signal the risk or presence of a disease before any symptoms appear. This enables the provider to focus on prevention and proactive intervention as opposed to reacting to a disease at a more advanced stage.
Next, precision medicine lessons the occurrence of trial-and-error prescribing. Each patient will react differently to medications based upon their individual genetics. By screening a patient and learning their genetic makeup ahead of time, providers can prescribe a medication that will work for that individual patient the first time, avoiding the frustration and cost of trying out different medications until one is found that works.
In addition to lessening the need for trial-and-error prescribing, precision medicine also reduces adverse drug reactions. Again, individual patients react differently to medications, and sometimes those reactions are harmful. By understanding an individual patient’s genetics and potential sensitivities, providers can avoid prescribing a drug that will cause a negative reaction.
Another benefit of precision medicine is an improvement in treatment adherence. Individualized treatments based upon what will actually work for that specific patient are adhered to better than one-size-fits-all strategies. Precision medicine allows a provider to select a treatment plan that works not only with a patient’s genetics, but also with their environment and lifestyle.
Finally, precision medicine allows providers to predict a patient’s susceptibility to illness. By holistically understanding a patient, providers are more able to determine what illnesses are most likely to affect that individual and how best to prevent these occurrences.
How can practices introduce a precision medicine model?
Clearly, precision medicine is incredibly beneficial, but it also likely feels rather daunting, and it is a significant undertaking. Even so, there are ways practices can begin to introduce precision medicine to their patient population.
First, utilize genomic data to gain disease insights. As genetic testing becomes more affordable, it’s more plausible to consider encouraging your patients to be tested so that their genetic makeup and what it might mean regarding disease and treatment is understood. This is a good first step to implementing precision medicine processes in your practice.
Also, use robust health IT for data storage and sharing, as well as to leverage artificial intelligence. Care continuity is important to precision medicine because, again, this type of care considers the comprehensive picture of a patient. It’s important to have your patient’s data secure but easily accessible for you to be able to evaluate that information when making diagnostic and treatment decisions.
Precision medicine, while a departure from the way care is typically provided, has the ability to revolutionize healthcare and improve patient outcomes. This is why Henry Schein MicroMD is passionate about supporting practices as they move in this important direction. Our MicroMD EMR is Cures Act certified, giving it the interoperability capacity to allow your practice to be connected to your patients’ other care providers so that you can maintain a comprehensive picture of your patients’ care.
For more information on MicroMD’s products and services, visit micromd.com or call 1-800-624-8832 to speak to a Practice Management Consultant today.
About the author,
Crystal is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Henry Schein MicroMD. Content creation, social media management, and SEO optimization are just a few of her areas of concentration as she seeks to educate clients and prospects alike about the simple, customizable, and connected solutions we offer at MicroMD.
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