Patients' willingness to embrace personalized medicine speaks to larger trend

A recent study commissioned by Intel revealed that patients are ready to embrace personalized care, all the way down to medications for their specific genetic makeup, and they want the freedom to get health care wherever and whenever it’s convenient for them.

Why is this important? Personalization — whether it is customized coupons and marketing or prescription medications — is here and will be critical in 2014. Consumers want more, and in the face of rising health care costs and a strained healthcare system, their healthcare is no exception.

As the study found, patients are not only ready to embrace personalized medicine but they are willing to share personal information, such as lab results, to advance the field of medicine and cut medical costs throughout the entire system.

The reality is that personalized medicine isn’t simply a fad. It is a revolution in patient care and medication management. Pharmacogenomics, which refers to the testing of individuals to help select the best therapy for a particular patient, is on its way to transforming both the practice of pharmacy and the way medicines are prescribed, prepared and dispensed for many chronic diseases.
 
For example, regional player Kerr Drug announced last year that it was collaborating with the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill's Eshelman School of Pharmacy on a study to explore the feasibility of a pharmacogenetic program for the blood-thinning drug Plavix. Studies have shown that certain genetic variations between individuals can affect their responses to Plavix.

"Because pharmacists have unique expertise in medication use and are point-of-care service providers, they can play an important role in facilitating pharmacogenetic testing and more personalized health care," had stated Kerr Health EVP Rebecca Chater when announcing the news last year.

More recently, a new study conducted by researchers at CVS Caremark and Brigham and Women's Hospital explored the impact of genetic testing on prescribing patterns for cardiovascular therapy and found that there is an opportunity to improve upon the information physicians and patients receive on the evolving body of evidence for pharmacogenomics.

Noted Troyen A. Brennan, EVP and chief medical officer of CVS Caremark, "We're entering an age when we can begin to create tailored treatment regimens for individual patients, but a genetic test is only valuable when providers and their patients can understand and act on the results."

There’s no doubt that the industry is entering an age of personalization — on several fronts.

 

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