Detailed EHRs offer opportunity for personalized care

Health systems around the country are incorporating new patient information into electronic health records in an effort to provide more customized patient care as the healthcare industry attempts to keep pace with a constant stream of potentially useful health data.  

Kaiser Permanente and Geisinger Health System are in the early stages of incorporating and utilizing detailed patient information that can inform future treatments, according to NPR. Kaiser is working toward a system in which physicians can pull up information about a disease based on specific factors such as age. Although currently operating as a prototype, the system is looking to incorporate patient reported information that can offer a more complete perspective of different treatment options.

Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania, already recognized for its use of data analytics to improve surgical outcomes, has been pushing to integrate data into everyday practice. According to NPR, the system has incorporated genetic scans into the medical records of 50,000 patients, on its way to a goal of 125,000 patients. Those tests can be used to predict and treat serious health conditions.

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Although genetic testing offers tremendous potential for more customized care, some researchers have cautioned against widespread adoption. Others have said EHRs don’t yet have the capability to support precision medicine initiatives.

RELATED: Precision medicine no cure-all; and EHRs don't adequately support it

In 2015, President Barack Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative, which some experts have called a “turning point in medicine.” But Harlan Krumholz, M.D., a professor of medicine at Yale, told NPR that the healthcare industry has yet to figure out how to adequately utilize vast amounts of patient data. 

“Medicine’s got to catch up, and medicine’s got to understand how best to take advantage of all the information that's been generated every day,” he said.