Precision Medicine & the Future of Lab IT
We are proud to be a sponsor for the Precision Medicine Institute convention in Nashville. It’s being held at the Hutton Hotel, September 12-13, and is produced by Robert Michel and his team over at The Dark Report. This intensive summit, aimed at CEOs and Administrators of Health Systems and Hospitals, is new but greatly needed. The issues of oncology, pharmacogenomics, infectious disease, and population analytics using big data are some of the most complex issues of our times. The forward leaps made in recent research is astounding and life-saving. As reported on August 23rd in the Dark Daily, “Genetic testing and gene sequencing done by clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups underpin how first-mover hospitals and health networks are improving patient outcomes.”
The topic of “precision medicine” as a whole is one of the most exciting health care developments I’ve seen in my career. The U.S. National Library of Medicine defines it as “an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyles for each person.” To many, the concept might seem relatively new, but it certainly is not to many of us in our industry. We know as developments continue it will revolutionize healthcare by becoming the opposite of a “one-size-fits-all” in favor of a specificity that will mean better, more accurate, and more appropriate care in a manner that further negates the opportunities for human error.
Dependable software solutions, secure cloud data exchanges, etc., have always been important; these new medical breakthroughs make them more so.
One of the many areas I’m especially excited about is cancer treatment. The oncologist has always treated patients based on the characteristics of the lung cancer, breast cancer, etc., and treatment given by two different doctors treating patients with the same cancer are often similar. But research in cancer genomics is opening a whole new door and holds the promise of providing the oncologist with the means to specify more individual treatment, do less guesswork, and have more success (faster and cheaper, too). A white paper on this topic from the American Association for Cancer Research Foundation offers real-life examples of success, like in the story of 10-year-old lymphoma victim who, when standard chemotherapy wasn’t working, genetic testing revealed that his cancer might benefit from something completely different – a crizotinib treatment. Precision medicine research in a clinical trial has led to him being cancer-free today. Also, from this white paper: “Through the precision medicine approach, the treatment of each patient can be focused on drugs most likely to benefit him or her, sparing the patient the cost and potential harmful side effects from drugs that are unlikely to be beneficial.” And: “As our ability to analyze and integrate patient characteristics increases, we can expect faster and broader implementation of precision medicine across the spectrum of cancer care, from cancer prevention and early detection to treatment of late-stage disease.”
There’s a side of all this that U.S. HealthTek is especially concerned about and invested in: the data of it all. We’re in the business of bringing strategic IT data to labs and hospitals, and the safe, accurate, transfer of information is increasingly not only a matter of allowing a lab to run in a more profitable, efficient manner, but to distribute more data with greater accuracy. Dependable software solutions, secure cloud data exchanges, etc., have always been important; these new medical breakthroughs make them more so.
That is why we enthusiastically signed on with Robert Michele and the Dark Report group for this much-needed conference. This group runs the vital Executive War College meeting each May, and their reputation and the awesome job they’ve done on behalf of the industry has made us choose to work with them on this conference over others. I believe it will be in interesting to see who also recognizes the importance of a gathering like this. But I am sure that the exchange of ideas will further propel this critical movement. I hope you come, and I hope you stop by our booth located in the exhibitor section. I’ll be there for both days and my partner Cristy Reiter will be there the second day, the 13th. (For more information on the event and to register, go here.)