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Precision Medicine – Value-based care’s secret weapon to improve outcomes and care coordination

February 07, 2017
David Bennett
From the January 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

By David Bennett

If precision medicine was having a moment the past few years, this year it’s having a minute.
Precision medicine — also known as personalized medicine — is transforming health care from being about many to focusing on one. Population health and precision medicine work hand in hand. Population health serves as the “who” to identify cohorts of patients who are at risk and require attention. And precision medicine is the “what,” arming providers with the specific information they need to create effective, individualized prevention and treatment plans.

As value-based care increases in importance and upside and downside risk-sharing between providers and payers becomes more common, precision medicine will play a pivotal role in effectively managing the health of populations. Precision medicine puts patients at the center of their own care, while also ensuring that information is shared easily between caregivers and clinicians.

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Precision medicine is most commonly associated with genomics. While genomics and clinically oriented analysis are extremely valuable in implementing precision medicine as the next step in population health management, they are only one part of the big picture. Increasingly, the value of environmental, social and lifestyle factors is also getting recognized in the effective implementation of personalized medicine. For example, the federal government’s Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) focuses not just on genetics and biology, but also behavior and environment.

All of this would not be possible without the right technology to enable health systems and providers to personalize patient care. This technology must be adaptable, flexible, scalable and future-proofed so that it’s still relevant 5, 10 or 20 years from now as care models continue to evolve. This evolution will be powered by innovative data analytics and other technologies tied to population health and precision medicine that enable proactive management of potentially high-risk patients and lead to improved care coordination.

Leveraging data to enable personalized care
Making big data small is essential in order to personalize care. Today’s technology platforms can do that by capturing vast amounts of health data and applying real-time analytics, which provide information and tools that enable health systems and other health care organizations to make more effective, individualized treatment decisions. Having the largest variety of data sets possible optimizes therapeutic tracking of each patient’s care plan to make and refine diagnoses. This sets the stage for the most personalized therapy possible by detecting patterns in clinical assessments, behavior and outcomes. Using this data and information to engage patients and guide care management makes the journey from population health management to precision medicine that much easier, paving the way for an era of truly personalized medicine.

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