Innovation: Personalised Healthcare


Generally, humanity has greatly benefited from the ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to medication. However due to considerations such as genetic makeup, everyone reacts differently to identical medication. Over the past couple of years, the pharmaceutical industry has been putting a massive amount of effort into being able to cater to the unique needs of patients. This is where Personalised Healthcare or PHC comes in.

What is Personalised Healthcare?

Personalised Healthcare and Personalised Medicines are targeted at patients who do not react to traditional ‘one size fits all’ medicines. They are customised therapies that have been developed by making use of a patient’s genetic and epigenetic data allowing healthcare professionals to judge which medications should be administered.

Benefits

PHC aims to ensure that the screening, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of illnesses will more rapidly and efficiently change patient lives. This includes genetic testing to uncover predisposition to disease and early detection of illness at the molecular level where treatment can be most successful. There are many benefits to Personalised Healthcare and medicines that include:

  • Decreased potential harmful drug reactions
  • Improved quality of life for certain patients
  • Increased understanding of disease and illnesses
  • Increased speed and accuracy of diagnosis
  • Decreased cost of drug development

Challenges

There are unfortunately still a few challenges that stand in the way of Personalised Healthcare, one being the integrity and accuracy of stored health data as the totality and reliability of the data needs to be heavily relied upon for Personalised Healthcare to be successful.

Although the adoption of Personalised Healthcare would overall decrease the cost of drug development, the initial costs of individual drug discovery and development would be massive due to the analytic and diagnostic procedures involved.

As of yet, there aren’t strict standards for the diagnosis of genetic diseases/disorders before being able to prescribe personalised medicines. Therefore, incorrect lab testing leading to inaccurate results could mean ineffective, or worse, toxic effects on the patient.

Other comments

Although the ‘one size fits all’ approach continues to hold a prevalent place when it comes to treatment and disease management, PHC does show a favourable future for providing ‘the right treatment to the right person at the right time’.

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