Precision Medicine Could Have a Major Impact on Healthcare Outcomes and Costs – SPONSOR CONTENT FROM SIEMENS HEALTHINEERS


The transformation of health care continues at a rapid pace, bringing opportunities and challenges for health care providers to deliver improved clinical outcomes at lower costs.

Despite the tidal wave of medical knowledge and digital capabilities, widespread unwarranted variations in clinical practice drive higher costs and result in poorer quality. And many health care systems continue to struggle to reliably deliver evidence-based care.

While progress is clearly being made, as an industry, we still have far to go to consistently deliver on the promise of high-value care through technology and innovation.

In a recent report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, experts analyzed how expanding precision medicine offers health care providers new opportunities to provide high-value care. Their conclusion: the expansion of precision medicine could have a major impact on outcomes and costs.

Why Medicine Needs to Become More Precise
The precision medicine initiative is widely viewed as a way to improve health care because it focuses on diagnosing and treating each individual patient based on his or her genetic characteristics. Some in the medical community believe that definition should be expanded.

“While precision medicine can be seen by some people as genomics-guided treatment, I think this definition is too limiting,” says Dr. Larry Chu, a Stanford professor who advised President Barack Obama on the Precision Medicine Initiative announced in 2015. “I think precision medicine means precisely diagnosing conditions, then integrating all relevant patient data and insights to guide care to the best outcomes. It is about providing the right treatment to the right patient at the right time.”

In the report, the experts agreed that the practice of precision medicine will grow because the benefits to health care organizations, providers, and patients in the form of better outcomes and reduced costs are simply too great to pass up. Research suggests that eliminating unwarranted variations in medical care can reduce the cost of patient management by at least 35 percent.

But while precision medicine is already extending lives and improving the quality of patients’ lives, the experts believe there is much to be done to expand its use. That will require executives of health care providers and the entire medical community to embrace, at scale, four pillars of care. These can be grouped into two broad categories: precision diagnosis and individualized therapy.

Precision Diagnosis
Pillar 1: Improve Diagnostic Accuracy
Improve the accuracy of each diagnosis by treating diagnosis not as a singular event but rather as a precise and systematic process enabled by integrated imaging and laboratory results. Speed, quantification, and accuracy are critical because the diagnosis determines the subsequent path of care for each patient. Leverage technology to allow diagnoses to be made, in many cases, at the initial point of care.

A crucial first step in expanding precision medicine is to improve diagnostic accuracy. As Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen and venture capitalist Spencer Nam, a senior research fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute, wrote in Harvard Health Policy Review, “Precisely understanding the causes and progression of a disease is the fastest and the most economical way to deliver more effective and individualized therapies to each person.”

Pillar 2: Reduce Unwarranted Variations in Diagnoses
Tightly align training, systems, and protocols throughout the medical community to ensure more consistent care and diagnoses, eliminating variations related to the type of imaging or testing performed, who performed it, or who read the results. The goal is to provide consistent medicine, based on evidence, for the patient’s specific medical condition.

Individualized Therapy
Pillar 3: Personalize Care When It Matters
Move beyond treating patients based on which genetic subgroups they fall into, and treat them instead as distinct individuals, taking full advantage of our understanding of each patient’s unique genetic and metabolic makeup—along with the images and lab test results collected over the course of a patient’s treatment. This enables earlier intervention in cases involving patients who do not respond to treatment.

Pillar 4: Utilize Advanced Therapies
Take advantage of robotics and advanced imaging technology to make greater use of minimally invasive procedures, especially where imaging can be deployed in real time to guide the procedure and thereby optimize its effectiveness, minimize errors, and reduce costs.

By committing to expanding the concept of precision medicine in this fashion, health care providers have a real opportunity to resolve their biggest challenges.

CEOs of health care institutions, who are under increasing pressure to improve patient outcomes and simultaneously reduce costs, have every incentive to embrace these four pillars of care and expand precision medicine not only within their own organizations but also throughout the health care community.

At Siemens Healthineers, we believe health care is on the cusp of realizing the benefits of precision medicine – and this has already been demonstrated by many real-world examples from across the entire health care spectrum.

Download the HBR white paper on the Siemens website.








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