Charting the Course for Personalized Health Care Amidst the Turbulent Winds of Change

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Can you recall a time in modern history marked by such dynamic forces of change in medical research, health, and health care? Today, during this period of fierce economic hardship, the U.S. is experiencing a dramatic up-tick in investment, incentives, and innovation aimed at developing better knowledge for health and applying it in new ways.  Much of this change can be attributed to massive public investment in health information technology and a new bolus of support for biomedical research – however, private R&D sector and global competitiveness forces are also in play. Health reform proposes massive shifts in health care policy, including larger roles for government in providing access to health care and the regulation of private insurance markets.

Recently, we published two papers that address these tectonic plates of change in health care and the plausible ways they may affect the course of personalized health care. In the first (1), we outline the policy changes in health care that are underway – these represent waves of opportunity for personalized medicine. There is no doubt we will be a much more connected environment – biologically, technically, and socially. The future of applying precise knowledge about the patient’s own biology to medical practice is highly dependent on the tools of the information age. We also presented some new ideas and concepts about the use of health care data to serve discovery, translational, and outcomes research.  Liberating clinical care data for research is a key element of opening doors for innovation to prosper. (2) One thing is certain – research and health care will increasingly be operating in data rich environments. Will this translate into relevant clinical knowledge and represent opportunities for personalized medicine?

Seizing these transformative changes in the health care setting should be viewed as the opening to interject new scientific approaches in answering questions that previously couldn’t be tested.

I encourage you to examine these papers and offer your comments. What do you think these incredible forces of change will mean for personalized health care?

  1. Downing GJ.  Policy perspectives on the emerging pathways of personalized medicine. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2009;11:421-428.
  2. Nadler JJ, Downing GJ. Liberating health data for clinical research applications. Sci Transl Med. 10 February 2010 2:18cm6.

One Response to “Charting the Course for Personalized Health Care Amidst the Turbulent Winds of Change”

  1. My Health Master Says:

    i just subscribed and i became one of your followers…great stuff here

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