realizing the promise of personalized medicine
by Neoteryx | 2 min read
One area that has brought significant shifts in the field of healthcare is personalized medicine. The tools, techniques, and technology of personalized medicine, along with the larger ideas that drive them, have enabled many healthcare providers to categorize patients into small groups depending on specific similarities. These similarities include patients’ DNA, lifestyles, and environments.
Big personalized medicine innovations are swiftly shifting from their early promise into reality. Here are some key areas to watch as translational research delivers returns in clinical care settings.
New Pathways of Medical Delivery
In new, more sophisticated approaches to delivery of care, patients are more involved in their treatment regimens in a collaborative and transparent manner. They may use remote devices at home to track their own conditions and collect their own specimen samples, which actively engages them in self-managing their health. The samples may be sent to the lab for analysis, and data from remote devices or samples may be transmitted electronically through secure digital systems. Such approaches create better relations between patients and doctors. This trend has been boosted by the rise of remote patient monitoring, which involves technologies that enable doctors to electronically access information about their patients. If a doctor decides to change a patient's medication, they can submit the new prescription digitally to the pharmacy. The patients can also use online platforms or digital apps to order drug refills or new prescriptions for delivery to their home. Changes can be communicated digitally as well, with doctors scheduling telehealth consultations with their patients, and using phone, email and video chat for those virtual appointments.
The study of human genes by health experts has also played a great role in making personalized medicine a reality. Scientists are able to use genetic information obtained from various research studies to better determine the likelihood of a person manifesting a genetically inherited illness, and the potential effects of that illness. This data is useful in developing medications that might prevent symptoms and effects, or in developing better treatments targeted to specific patients based on their genetic makeup. For example, if an individual has a certain biomarker of a disease, they would receive the medication most effective for that particular biomarker. This genetic approach not only improves the accuracy of diagnosis, but also reduces the cost and potential side effects of trial-and-error treatments with less targeted medications.
Biosensors and Telemedicine
Development of information technology is proving to be a breakthrough in improving patient monitoring. This has made the management of chronic conditions easier for patients and doctors. Patients are able to use biosensors to monitor their own disease progress for conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. They are able to send their monitoring data and other details to their doctors digitally via smartphones or computers without necessarily going to the clinic in person. Telemedicine can occur in real time without the hindrances or delays encountered in traditional medicine that involves delayed appointment scheduling and follow-up visits.
The proliferation of remote specimen collection and microsampling methods are proving influential in improving personalized medicine and patient monitoring. Patients are able to perform remote sample collection using microsampling devices. Such devices enable the collection of small volumes of bio-fluid that are more precise. Allowing people to collect their own specimen samples at home and send them to a centralized lab for analysis actively involves them in their own treatment, and enables more patient-centered clinical care.
With remote and digital technologies, there is no doubt that the state of personalized medicine is able to shift from its promises to reality. There is great potential to develop related methods and technologies even more the in future.