Survey: Precision medicine data will make the biggest splash in the next five years

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Clinicians and executives say genomics and patient-generated data will be increasingly useful in the next five years.

Genomics and patient-generated data are poised to make a bigger impact in healthcare in the next five years, although many within the industry still have concerns about interoperability and the overall effectiveness of big data.

The strong interest among executives, clinical leaders and clinicians in genomics and patient-generated data reflects the promise of precision medicine within the industry. According to a survey released by NEJM Catalyst Insights Report, 40% of respondents said genomics data will be useful five years from now, compared to just 17% who said it is currently useful.

Forty percent of respondents also said patient-generated data will be useful five years from now, a 33% increase from those who said it is currently useful.

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Although 95% of respondents said clinical data is a top data source currently, 82% said it will be a priority five years from now. Comparatively, 58% said cost data will be useful five years from now, up 4% from those who said it is useful today.

“This rejiggering of the top useful sources of health care data tells us that people realize cost matters,” wrote Amy Compton-Phillips, M.D, executive vice president and chief clinical officer for Providence St. Joseph Health who authored the report. “What’s more, they expect that personalized medicine, powered by data, will reduce the costs of care while simultaneously improving patient outcomes. With patient-generated data and genomic data, we will be able to create true ‘n of 1’ medicine with options specific to each patient’s needs, giving a boost to priorities such as care coordination and improved clinical decision support.”

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Other notable findings include:

  • Claims data saw the biggest drop in usefulness: 45% said claims data is currently useful, but 32% said it will be useful in five years
  • Care coordination, improved decision support and predictive analytics represent the biggest opportunities in healthcare, although clinicians are less hopeful about predictive analytics compared to executives and clinical leaders
  • More than half of respondents said their organization is effectively using data for direct patient care, but most still point to interoperability as a major barrier. More than half of respondents rated their organization’s EHR system as “weak”
  • Just 18% of respondents said the impact of big data is “mainly hype,” but the majority (44%) said useful applications are still several years away

Experts have said personalized medicine and data accessibility will shape the next century in healthcare. Others have pointed out that the future of healthcare is grounded in data, but how that data will be used is still unclear. Providers are increasingly turning to data analytics to eliminate medication errors, improve care and provide practical feedback for physicians.