- Relatively few healthcare organizations have precision medicine programs or use precision medicine-specific solutions on patients, according to a new report by HIMSS Analytics.
- The report, released Wednesday, provides insights from 137 CMIOs/CMOs, physicians, biomedical directors and pathology directors on how they are using technology to advance disease treatment and prevention. Just 29% said they were conducting precision medicine.
- Cancer is by far the greatest focus of precision medicine, with 79.5% of respondents’ conducting work in that area. Other areas of work include neurology, prenatal screening and cardiology.
HIMSS attributes the limited playing field to a lack of funds, technology and on-site expertise, and says most early efforts have been concentrated at larger, research-based organizations — academic medical centers (35%), multihospital systems (25%) or organizations with more than 400 beds (42%).
President Barack Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative during his 2015 State of the Union address, calling for the creation of a 1 million person cohort to improve understanding of various diseases and their treatment and prevention.
While the president’s initiative has increased research in precision medicines, especially for cancer, “the process of conducting precision medicine is still highly specialized and many healthcare organizations rely upon a combination of internal and external resources to aid them in the process,” Brendan FitzGerald, director of research at HIMSS Analytics, writes in a blog. “Specific solution platforms dedicated to precision medicine are now being implemented across the market which should help organizations in the journey toward specific disease treatment and prevention.”
FitzGerald points to four areas where precision medicine will impact health IT in the future:
- Larger repositories of genomic, lifestyle, and environmental data to help population health outcomes;
- Wider adoption of clinical analytics to help bring precision medicine knowledge and capabilities to smaller healthcare organizations;
- EMR solutions will need to integrate genomic data into the patient record and clinical workflow; and
- Academic medical centers and professional organizations will partner with health IT startups, fostering competition and innovation.