What do we really mean when we talk about Personalized Healthcare?
“It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than what sort of disease a person has.” — Hippocrates.
Personalized healthcare can transform patients’ lives by delivering care tailored to the individual, thereby helping to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases more effectively and quickly.
Population-focused health care can be described as an approach to providing patient care that focuses on an entire population or community rather than solely focusing on individual patient care. We touched on these points in a previous article.
Current approaches to healthcare issues have been compromised by hypocrisy. We deliver care with the population healthcare model, yet we reimburse for care based on the individual outcome. We invest in treatments that science offers, but we can’t deliver them to the right person at the right time.
We are sometimes extending death because we cannot preserve life. We believe in the Hippocratic oath, but we turn a blind eye to the hypocrisy in our healthcare system. We encourage our patients and are told to engage them in their own healthcare decisions, but we take away their options.
Patients have digital medical records but are not in control of them, and third parties can make millions of dollars by accessing and using the information. At the same time, we tell patients they need a certain treatment, but they can’t have it because insurers do not cover it.
As physicians, we know what we need to do for our patients, but our hands are often tied. Yet, we still get paid based on value and performance.
There is no single formula or policy, or mandate that will act as a silver bullet and salvage today’s healthcare crisis and restore quality care for all. There are too many variables.
“Variability is the law of life, and as no two faces are the same, so no two bodies are alike, and no two individuals react alike and behave alike under the abnormal conditions which we know as disease.” — William Osler.
We can never achieve the value-based reimbursement model without addressing these issues.
“Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.” — Hippocrates
The real meaning of personalized healthcare
How can we expect a patient to like our service if their mind has been set in one direction through constant media marketing campaigns only to be told by their doctor that they cannot have it? While the same campaign owners are part of the same profit deal network.
This would be even worse with pharmacies merging with insurance carriers. Initially, personalized healthcare is costly. If pricing and reimbursement policies within and across countries and between medicine and diagnostic development do not efficiently share these costs and reward value appropriately, then the global rate of innovation will be sub-optimal in the long-run impact on the population.
We can ensure that the highest quality, highest value care is available and affordable for all patients by balancing the options, quality, patient satisfaction, and efficiency with continued focus.
Personalized care has to be in the context of the open market since strict over-regulation would bring counterproductive results. That is why over time, the population-based model has gained in popularity.
Through patient education, engagement, and feedback, we can deliver personalized healthcare treatments to the right person at the right time.
Precision medicine is the foundation of individual healthcare. Health is an individual right and can only be achieved effectively through individual empowerment. Everyone is a patient, and few are physicians. Every case is unique.
Medicine is the science of indefinite variability. It must be applied differently to every individual. The value of care and the quality of medical services can only be determined on an individual basis.