by adgrooms on May 16, 2019

We have come a long way in medicine, developing cures and treatments for the most daunting diseases and ailments. For the most part, science has discovered remedies by treating whole populations indiscriminately. This tactic has been successful for many individuals, but a few have not seen the benefit. Some are now approaching healthcare from a model that uses genetics and other traits from subpopulations to customize treatment called “precision medicine”.

Instead of treating cancer from a one-dimensional approach for anyone diagnosed, precision medicine takes into account genome structure, lifestyle and environmental conditions. Treatment is then tailored to the person’s traits and known response to treatment. So, what is information technology’s role?

In order to treat with precision medicine, large amounts of genetic data need to be collected and analyzed to find the ideal remedies. At this scale, block chain is being utilized to securely store massive amounts of population data. AI is used to analyze the data and sift out patterns and nuances needed to customize a particular treatment to a population trait.

To apply these new technologies, we need EHRs as input. EHR systems seem to serve the purpose of keeping a timeline and details of patient’s data, but to serve this need, they need to integrate well with analytical systems and distribute data in a complete and consistent manner. The pipeline of data from collection to secure storage to analysis to improved techniques and then back to the bedside has not yet been established.

It is exciting to see this approach take shape. The technology that offers a collaborative integrated process will succeed in providing the necessary infrastructure for the physicians moving precision medicine forward.