How will precision medicine change healthcare?

How will precision medicine change healthcare?

How precision medicine can change healthcare

Precision medicine enables healthcare practitioners to direct their efforts to develop individualized, targeted healthcare solutions for their patients. From dietary choices, activity level, down to one's genetic imprint, many factors can affect one's health. These factors also bring about variations in response to a particular drug or therapy among individuals.

What is precision medicine?

Precision medicine is a medical model that looks at the biological, environmental, and psychosocial factors that contribute to disease development to develop a medical treatment that would work best for a particular patient. Precision medicine aims to promote health by offering tailor-fit interventions for one's health needs, in contrast to a one-size-fits-all approach.

How will precision medicine change healthcare?

  1. Prediction. Many diseases are inheritable. By understanding your family's medical history, your physician can predict your average lifetime risk of developing a particular disease, enabling you to take steps to prevent or mitigate the possible complications of having that disease.
  2. Prevention. Chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension are multifactorial. They are brought about by lifestyle, genetic, and environmental factors. Precision medicine can help prevent you from getting them by targeting the so-called modifiable factors that increase your risk of developing these diseases. For one, the American Heart Association recommends the DASH (Diet Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet to improve blood pressure in people at risk of having hypertension.
  3. Screening. In medicine, screening serves as a strategy to detect certain medical conditions or risk factors early to prevent the development of a disease. Newborn screening, for example, is a routine set of special tests done on newborns to check for health disorders such as hearing impairment, metabolic abnormalities, and heart diseases. The screening includes a blood test and a hearing exam, among others.
  4. Treatment. Precision medicine can help physicians select the best treatment option according to the health profile of their patients. Pharmacogenomics is a prime example of how precision medicine initiatives can alter patients' course of treatment. 

One factor that makes treating illnesses difficult is that individual responses to drugs are rarely universally predictable. People respond differently to a drug – what works for most might not work for others. Pharmacogenomics analyzes how individuals respond to a particular drug by studying their genetic makeup. Your doctor can know which medications and at what doses are most likely to work for you through pharmacogenomics.

When is precision medicine used?

While precision medicine is relatively new, its concepts have been used in healthcare for many years. Physicians may use precision medicine to offer individualized treatment for patients depending on their age, sex, physical activity, financial capacity, comorbidities, and other factors which potentially affect their health status. By applying the concepts of precision medicine, patients can receive the most suitable treatment for them.


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