Personalized medicine can provide safer, more effective treatment options for patients and potentially reduce health care costs, but the best practices for integrating personalized medicine into an existing health care system are not yet clear. The Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC) and Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) Solutions Summit: Integrating Personalized Medicine into Health Care helped to fill this knowledge gap, revealing a range of solutions to challenges facing the field. They encourage a fundamental change in the way medicine is practiced, from population-based, trial-and-error methods to a more personalized approach based on the use of an individual patient’s molecular information.
Five Solutions to Help Integrate Personalized Medicine into Health Care
1. Provide scientific and value-based evidence that is customized for each audience (payers, providers, patients).
Personalized medicine is scientifically complicated, and industry-generated evidence that demonstrates clinical and economic value is sometimes hard to understand or impractical to use. Product developers should generate and customize evidence reports for each audience (i.e. payers, providers, patients) that highlight easily understood scientific information and demonstrate improved outcomes.
2. Educate broadly.
Both the health care workforce and patients need a better understanding of personalized medicine. Freely accessible online materials can help build a stronger knowledge base. Patient support groups can help patients understand molecular mechanisms of disease and the benefits of personalized medicine technologies. Physician and community leaders can be identified and provided with the resources they need to raise awareness and advocate for change.
3. Develop proactive policies that incentivize a learning health system and the adoption of personalized medicine products based on their value.
The current policy environment often incentivizes health care practice based on volume rather than value. Outcomes data must be systematically collected and shared to help expand the understanding of high-value technologies, and policies need to be developed and implemented that reward health care providers for optimizing treatments based on individual patient characteristics.
4. Provide information about clinically actionable variants that accompanies individual medical data, and link it directly to electronic medical records.
Turning the large amounts of data associated with personalized care into comprehensive, useful and user-friendly information is challenging. Information on clinically actionable data points should accompany medical data in electronic health records so that providers can separate signals from noise. Clinical support information must be presented in a way that saves time for physicians, and must allow for expansion that can keep pace with the rate of scientific advancement.
5. Ensure that policies and practices that address ethical, legal and societal issues are acceptable to patients.
Personalized medicine raises a new set of ethical, legal and societal issues regarding the use of individual molecular information. Policies and practices related to the use of individual molecular information must be developed with patient input, and before issues arise.
PMC has convened a group of expert leaders to articulate these challenges and solutions. The group plans to publish a best practices guide that can help speed the integration of personalized medicine into health care systems.
Guided by these strategies, it is our hope that many providers see the future within reach.
Daryl Pritchard, Ph.D.
Vice President, Science Policy
Personalized Medicine Coalition