What is precision medicine? If you have never heard of the term before, it is a relatively new and emerging field that uses a patient’s unique genes, lifestyle, and environment to customize their treatment plan. With this technique, physicians can accurately predict which treatment methods and prevention strategies work best on certain groups of people. This contrasts a general one-size-fits-all approach, which doesn’t always benefit the patients that it targets.
In order to make the most of this innovative approach, physicians and healthcare professionals need to invest in EHR integration. In our latest article, Iron Bridge explores the ways in which the future of precision medicine relies on interoperability in healthcare.
What is Precision Medicine Used for?
Precision medicine can be used to prevent and treat a number of different diseases
When it comes to precision medicine, healthcare professionals and physicians typically use it to create a tailored treatment plan for their patients. By analyzing their patient’s unique molecular profile, they can diagnose and treat certain diseases. Using data from population studies can also help researchers and medical professionals better understand different health conditions and diseases.
For some people, the principles behind precision medicine sound like something from a sci-fi novel. However, precision medicine has already been applied to a wide range of fields in the medical industry.
Different Applications for Precision Medicine
Precision medicine is most commonly used for cancer research and treatments. Using next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology, physicians can diagnose and treat cancer and different inherited diseases. For example, precision oncology is a field of medicine that uses tumor screenings to find biomarkers and use their findings to create a tailored treatment plan for patients. A pediatric oncologist may analyze genomic alterations in a child’s tumor in order to create a precise and targeted treatment plan to get rid of it. Someone in pharmacogenomics might study different populations in order to find the relationship between genetics and one’s predisposition to certain diseases.
In general, physicians who employ practices from precision medicine hope to improve patient outcomes while reducing costs associated with trial-and-error or failed treatments.
How Can EHR Integration Advance the Capabilities of Precision Medicine?
Many healthcare professionals argue that EHR integration plays a key part in the future of precision medicine
Right now, healthcare centers and IT developers need to focus on improving their EHRs to help workers make the most of the capabilities that precision medicine gives them. In the future, precision medicine can make a huge impact on the way we research, prevent, and treat different diseases. But current EHR systems are not integrated with the genomic discoveries that researchers and physicians are making.
By integrating genomic data into EHRs, both patients and physicians can enjoy a number of benefits, including:
- The amplification of patient autonomy
- Increased genetic literacy and understanding of treatment plans for patients
- Easy transferability of data among different healthcare providers
- The ability to assign different data sets
According to Dr. Terri Grebe, the Chair of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics Social, Ethical, and Legal Issues Committee, “Genomic data in the EHR must...be continuously and easily accessible to both patients and providers, while simultaneously receiving appropriate privacy protection, to achieve the goal of personalized medicine.”
But at the moment, most EHR vendors don’t have the capability to add genomic data to EHRs because of their complexity. That’s why numerous companies are turning to third-party APIs.
What Tech Solutions Are Available on the Market to Allow Seamless EHR Integration for Healthcare Workers?
Iron Bridge offers innovative tech solutions to healthcare practices looking to expand their precision medicine capabilities
Now that we have established the need for third-party APIs to connect genomic data to EHRs for EHR integration, we need to explore the current solutions on the market. The Nuvola Hub Healthcare Integration Platform as a Service (Hi-PaaS), for instance, offers top-tier data integration for healthcare companies. In addition to our state-of-the-art health IT solutions, we also offer world-class service and support for our clients.
Precision medicine offers numerous benefits for the future of healthcare. While current health IT and genomics are limited in their ability to help physicians practice precision medicine, they are likely to expand in the future. Right now, focusing on EHR integration for precision medicine plays a large focus in the minds of many healthcare professionals. Are you looking to expand or improve your current EHR system? Iron Bridge offers a number of tech solutions for data integration, public health records, and patient access. Contact the team today for more information!