“It is far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has”
Patients, clinicians, drug manufacturers and IT specialists- everyone has a personalized stake on ‘personalized’ medicine, and it is quite evident these days. The way we foresee the evolution of personalized medicine differs with respect to the perspective and responsibilities it serves to each and every medical field. Quoting Hippocrates for his famous words, “It is far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has”, it seems like the entire concept of personalized medicine is not new (even though it is quite recent in practice).
The major advancement in science, technology, pharmaceutical and medical device industries in the late 20th century has led to the phenomenal rise of genetics, imaging, and data mining. The concept of personalized medicine in such a scenario has emerged as a therapeutic approach specifically tailored to the patient or a collective group of patients for prevention, prediction, and treatment of disease. Unlike the ‘one-size-fit-for-all’ medical approach, personalized medicine is an effort to revolutionize health care with the capacity of early detection of disease- at the same time, offering improved quality, quick accessibility and feasible affordability in health care.
Personalized Medicine: Taking healthcare in an Individual direction
Personalized medicine is not a typical face-to-face discussion with a doctor where you often tell him about your pain levels, diagnosis history, general healthcare, or so on. Unlike the personal customer services, personalized medicine is more of a highly ‘customized healthcare service’ where a certain individualistic healthcare process and devices are adopted to support a patient’s specific medical needs. There is nothing complicating or ‘heavy’ about personalized medicine, and it is definitely a mistake to compare it with something as fuzzy as series of tubes or wires hooked to a patient in utter stern medical conditions.
“The basic idea with this form of medical innovation is to make treatment easy and convenient for the patients so that they can diagnose and treat their medical condition with utmost comfort in their own homes”
Personalized medicine brings the best dose of improved technology in a small yet powerful and accurate measure of diagnosis and treatment.
Personalized Medicine can help you in:
- Major shift of emphasis in medicine from reactive to preventive stage
- Driving the selection of optimal therapy
- Reduction in Trial-and-Error prescriptions
- Minimal chances of drug reactions
- Enhancing patients adherence to treatment
- Cost-effective medical solution
- Discussing the alternative or additional use of medicines
- ‘State of the Art’ medical assurance
The Reality Check
Personalized customized healthcare is a complicated phenomenon in itself, which is also taken as a myth beyond the world of pharmaceutical industry. The typical standards of biology take each patient as a separate entity having different physiological reactions, comorbidities, and interacting diagnoses. We cannot call it a complete science to give patients an absolute medical care, as it is still far from being called a complete science. The reality is that yes, we are heading in the direction to achieve this state, and there are several examples to prove it. For instance, the development of health wearables has made the life of patients and physicians easy for the purpose of interaction, both collectively and separately. Such ECG monitoring wearables can cut the unnecessary cost of hospitalization by simply offering a solution for monitoring and general healthcare maintenance.
Diagnostic and Therapeutic- The Two Subcategories of Devices
Being more preventive than reactive to the illness is the main concern of diagnostic medical angle. The EGC monitoring wearable that we were discussing earlier is an example of a diagnostic device. On the other hand, therapeutic devices come in all shapes and sizes. It could be a customized spinal adjustment system (that is specifically meant according to the skeleton of the patient) or an artificial pancreas device system to monitor glucose level and deliver insulin as needed to the diabetic patients.
From the metaphysical to the anatomical, the cellular and finally the molecular level- the medical history has witnessed a favorable progression in the arena of diagnostic capacities. Now that we can classify diseases into specific categories to determine the course of disease and its response mechanism, we can finally take the information and evidence beyond certain visible limits.