Personalized medicine: Examining the implications of a healthcare game-changer

Guest post by Joe Randolph, president and CEO of The Innovation Institute, which is structured to cultivate innovative solutions to transform healthcare delivery. He previously served as EVP and COO for the St. Joseph Health system

As Peter Diamandis, M.D., founder of Singularity University, says, "the rate of change in healthcare is going to be exponential." I believe that over the next 15 years, through technology advances and genomics, caregivers will have the ability to target and cure many diseases. The likely results will be that many diseases will be eliminated, and the average life span in the United States and other developed countries will increase. Personalized medicine--also known as precision medicine--will provide treatments that are specifically designed for an individual's genome so that they are more effective.

Impact on the healthcare system

Today, healthcare providers are paid through a fee-for-service model. As healthcare reform evolves the business model to population health, personalized medicine can reduce the burden of treating certain diseases that can be cured. Today, many diseases are chronic in nature and create a burden on healthcare by driving up costs. As we eliminate these costs through cures, there will be more people living longer, which will then impact care delivery with an increase in dementia, stroke and other breakdowns related to aging. The financial impact of this shift is yet to be determined.

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