To reach a stage where healthcare will be personal, there is a fundamental step: designing a medical treatment considering individual variability. For such purpose it is necessary to combine and curate to existing EMR records with data about the patient’s societal environment, lifestyle, and their genomic data. This can assist the doctors in identifying which approaches, treatments, and preventions will be effective for the patients, what also can be called personalized healthcare, on the prevention side, would also allow identification of genetic variants that increase a patient’s chances of developing diseases. Treatment could begin earlier, helping reduce risk through behavior modification (healthier diet or increased exercise) or leading to placement of patients on drug therapies.
Such an outcome relies of connecting and sharing data within a particular ecosystem. The ecosystem of me (ties back to the earlier concept of the internet of me). On one hand phone, wearables, health sensors, connected clothing—and combining that with clinical tests, scans, and check-ups—will allow much-improved analysis and monitoring and focus on health optimization. On the other hand, sharing such data in medical doctor community, academia, healthcare think tanks will improve healthcare foresight and shape healthcare public policy design, but most importantly will support via the existence of such dataset to create models of detecting effectively symptoms, understating treatment impact, find new ways of treatment and assist medical doctors with assisted reasoning.
Personalized healthcare is about shifting from volume to value. Revealing the unknown and creating a healthcare ecosystem continuum. The purpose of the transformation journey is to shift from normalized healthcare to personalized healthcare.
With this type of engagement, patients are likely to be more cooperative, and comply with procedures and treatment plans. There are of course other kind of benefits, like ease to schedule an appointment and track medication time, decrease healthcare costs, however, the biggest benefit and value of such an approach allows patients and citizens to look after themselves better and have better quality of life, because healthcare become, personal, anchored on a personal health record, which data sharing consent is managed by the individual.
Technology and healthcare always had an uneasy relationship, and the latest announcements that Apple and Google did entering into healthcare may bring the argument of massive surveillance, however, countries like Singapore, are aggressively progressing towards the creation of a shared nationwide healthcare data lake, by law. It should give us some thoughts about how healthcare is fast becoming personal.