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Information Technology Powers Precision Medicine

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The U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other high-income country, and yet, our health results are some of the worst. In 2014, U.S. healthcare spending constituted 17.5 percent of total GDP, a number that’s expected to increase about four percent by 2025.

The current business model for healthcare is not sustainable.

Costs are soaring in every aspect of the industry, especially on pharmaceutical drug prices, and neither politicians nor society can afford the recent hike.

It can cost up to $8 billion to bring a new drug to market and at least 10 years. “The current business model is just not sustainable and we have to have a more holistic approach,” said Arim Furtwaengler of Boehringer Ingelheim in the latest Knowledge by Wharton paper, Precision Medicine: New Paradigms, Risks and Opportunities.

The current business model is not sustainable according to a recent Knowledge by Wharton paper

“The current situation for the pharmaceutical industry is very challenging, with lots of significant and dynamic changes coming from limited budgets of payer organization and governments, and ever increasing expectations and aspirations by patients, physicians, and society of what ‘modern healthcare, research and new technologies’ might potentially accomplish,” Furtwaengler said.

More than a Buzz Word: Precision Medicine

To better treat and prevent diseases, pharmaceutical companies, providers, payers, government entities, and technology leaders must join efforts to mainstream precision medicine.

Precision medicine is an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person.

The advent of precision medicine would entail changes to every facet of modern healthcare like FDA classifications, drug companies and diagnostics companies working together, full adoption of electronic medical records, and increasing accessibility to DNA editing and sequencing.

Arguably, the most progress in precision medicine has been made around cancer. Healthcare professionals can compare the sequence of a cancer patient’s healthy genome with the sequence of their tumor genome, identifying the existence and location of a cancer marker or specific mutation.

Jennifer Morrissette and the team at the Center for Personalized Diagnostics at the University of Pennsylvania says that cancer tumor DNA sequencing will become the standard of care in the next few years.

Cancer tumor DNA sequencing will become the standard of care in the next few years

Beyond the Genome

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