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Accelerating Adoption of Personalized Medicine: Can We Bend the Curve?

drugs-151494_960_720The promise of personalized medicine has been proclaimed and promoted in both scientific literature and popular media, and is currently being leveraged by pioneering healthcare institutions as a competitive advantage in marketing campaigns that showcase dramatic scientific discoveries and near-miraculous clinical outcomes. The topic of personalized medicine has gone from obscurity to prominence in the past 15 years.

So far, so good. But is personalized medicine really here? The Personalized Medicine Coalition’s recent survey suggests that most hospitals and healthcare providers have not as yet taken the first steps towards adoption. Subsequently, the Personalized Medicine Coalition and Feinstein Kean Healthcare conducted a case study project, published in the Journal of Precision Medicine, which identified at eight pioneering healthcare institutions both the obstacles and the emerging models that could make adoption more feasible. And although the industry’s policy focus has primarily been on seeking reimbursement from payers for molecular diagnostics, it appears that numerous other factors loom just as large as reimbursement in the struggle to adopt personalized medicine strategically and operationally, including (as described in the same journal issue by Dr. George Poste) the nature of our healthcare system itself.

Now that the life sciences community has successfully raised awareness of all the potential clinical and economic advantages, our task in the future may be to assist those who will do the design and implementation of requisite large-scale systems that will make personalized medicine available and thereby enable millions more consumers and patients to gain access to personalized medicine. Perhaps such work is not as glamorous or fun as the “gee-whiz” promotion has been heretofore, but to the extent that we can help embed clinical evidence, best practices, data-sharing networks, and sustainable business models into these institutions, we are more likely to fuel true transformation of healthcare for all—sooner rather than later.