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Personalized medicine will rely on IT – It’s all about Software

Posted Nov 26 2008 12:27pm

Let’s put it another way, it can’t exist without IT.  Again it all comes back to running algorithms to obtain desired results.  As I have mentioned before, Algorithms is one of the hottest words right now in healthcare as we all make decisions from queried results.

A while back I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Patrice Milos, Chief Science Office for Helicos, who is one of the manufacturers of the machines that complete the sequencing of our DNA. Up front she and I were absolutely both in agreement – it’s all about software.   She was also very kind in her comments as well as she stated she was somewhat excited with talking with a tech person that understood algorithms too!   She lectures all over the country to bring the same message to universities as well with pharmacogenomics.  BD 

“One area we both strongly agreed upon is the use of software, from a data person like myself and with Dr. Milos with her area of research, we both absolutely concur that software is what makes all of this possible.”

We still have a long way to go in healthcare all the way around and with the current state of the economy, mergers, buyouts, etc are going on every day and week with software companies. 

One other item it mentions is from the clinical side of the puzzle.  Business models in healthcare do parallel those of the retail business in many ways.  In retail, everything takes place at the point of sale, or better known as the POS. Healthcare has a similar model in that everything takes place at the point of care, and I guess you could call it the POS for healthcare or POC

I have been having this discussion of late with the availability of alerts with clinical trials being integrated into EMR/EHR systems and personalized medicine is no different.  The information needs to be made available on screen and easy for the physician to work with, otherwise it gets buried.  So how many screens and alerts can be worked with, well that is a good question and preferences need to be allowed for each clinician to set up what works best for him or her. 

I’ll go one step further this this and once again mention the Common User Interface, which by structure is dynamic and has the ability to add new elements in a format that is simple and easy for the physicians and staff to work with.  You can read more in related reading about the software interface which is free to download from Code Plex and code donated from Microsoft and soon to be available in Linux and the dynamics contain some nice Silverlight visuals.

  Microsoft’s Growing Push into Life Sciences

So back on subject here, having the genetic information on certain genes present can make a big difference as to whether or not the patient could withstand taking Warfarin for a simple example, and we still don’t know yet if Medicare will pay for the test, but one simple example on how personalized medicine can make a difference based on DNA information.  The face of DNA sequencing and genomics is quickly changing too with the price coming down and a vendor in northern California promising “wholesale” sequencing with the interpretations done elsewhere.  The link below has some additional information at the physician and clinical level on personalized medicine.  BD

Genetic Counseling Foundation - References and information for Genomics in Healthcare

The complexity of the personalized medicine ecosystem makes the use of information technology critical, according to Kenneth Buetow, director of the National Cancer Institute’s Center of Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology.
However, IT has been slow to develop in the biomedical enterprise, Buetow writes in a recent report, adding that systems are rarely connected among the laboratories of one institution, much less different institutions.
Buetow’s comments are in one of the papers in the second report on personalized medicine from the Department of Health and Human Services. The report also summarizes the HHS summit on the topic in October.

In another papers, investment experts write that “HIT vendors have a unique opportunity to provide the dynamic, point-of-care decision support necessary to support the broad adoption of personalized medicine.”

http://www.govhealthit.com/online/news/350693-1.html

Related Reading:

Single Cell Gene Sequencing from Helicos – How it works
Helicos BioSciences and Personalized Medicine - Featured Interview with Dr. Patrice Milos
How Hot is Genomics and the Sequencing Machines?
Helicos Ships Sequencer to Stanford University
Expression Analysis to Award GWAS Resequencing, Analysis Services on Helicos Platform
EHRs need Standard Templates – So Let’s Look at the Common User Interface Project, a lot of the work is already in progress and partially completed
Health care has managed to avoid the information-technology revolution, but it won't for much longer
How electronic records reach your doctor – Integrated through the Hospitals
EHR Adoption Remains Off in the Distance – Getting way to complicated
Microsoft Technology Centers – Software Solutions with Assistance and Guidance

Common User Interface – Update and walk through video

Cerner Incorporates Genomics Into Electronic Medical Records

Scripps, Navigenics, Affymetrix and Microsoft team on groundbreaking health study – Personalized Medicine

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