Precision medicine could be the key to better, cheaper care

Most agree that fee-for-service reimbursement incentivizes providers to earn more by treating patients more aggressively. But Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen, and other co-authors of the book, The Innovator's Prescription (2009), agree that disruptive innovations in healthcare could produce better care at a lower cost, Forbes reports.

Here are just some of the ways they believe the system could be fixed:

Routinization: Three kinds of medical practices occur under a hospital's roof. The first, intuitive medicine, involves highly trained specialists (think Dr. Gregory House) handling difficult diagnoses and treatment. The second, empirical medicine, deals with the expensive world of chronic care and trial-and-error treatment, Forbes reports. Lastly, precision medicine is where the diagnosis and therapy are known. Treatment can be made routine and moved out of the hospital. "Disruption will involve pushing more of medicine into the precision category, then automating that care to make it better and cheaper," Forbes reports.

Precision: Targeted therapies will be more widely used. As diseases are subtyped more specifically and therapies better designed, clinical drug trials will be more focused. Specialty clinics will emerge to implant devices more cheaply.

Do-it-yourself: Christensen foresees growth in self-diagnosis and self-care as tools show up outside the hospital.

Check out the extraordinary oral history Forbes writer David Whelan conducted with Christensen. Besides touching on areas where healthcare could do better, it chronicles his recent experiences with a heart attack, advanced stage cancer and a stroke over three years.

To learn more:
- read Clayton Christensen's prescriptions for healthcare
- read the full oral history

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