Precision Medicine Benefits From Precision Data

One of the most exciting trends in medicine today is what is referred to as Precision Medicine. Based on genetics and molecular profiling, precision medicine offers enhanced efficiency and therapeutic accuracy for the treatment of many diseases with a focus on particular groups of patients and even individual patients. 

Intuitively, logical questions ask if precision medicine should not inherently yield more cost effective and safer healthcare, while the converse argument is that reaching that point of customized delivery is inherently too costly to justify improved outcomes. Which argument is accurate? Actually, both are or can be accurate. How thinly human genomic data is sliced and diced, and the individual costs associated with the compounding of precision prescriptions has to be measured at individual utilization levels to accurately understand the right position to take. The question this begs, is how do we measure the value of precision medicine, what is the ROI? 

The answer is this, simply put ROI is too vague a calculation, to imprecise, to measure and value something as infinitely measured as precision medicine. The challenges is that neither inputs, defined as costs and processes, nor outputs, defined as fewer adverse reactions, fewer inaccurate prescriptions, fewer missed diagnoses, and quality of life years among patients, are confined to a simply and consistent set of values. Developing a malleable model that allows an appropriate set of comparable variables to be used can create a valuation that can be weighted to show values for the various inputs and outputs that are viable and whose value may be different in different applications. Better than ROI is Cost Effectiveness Analysis, CEA, and Markoff Modeling. This approach would allow a researcher or even an individual physician addressing a patient care question the ability to load specific cost and benefit information into a preformatted model and with the push of a button, have a wealth of data available to determine cost effectiveness and health outcome effectiveness of precision medicine applications.    

As the old health at any cost perspective gives way to value based medicine, the need for more accurate and more definitive data will take the guess work out of patient care, and allow researchers, payors and providers to prescribe therapeutics at effective and appropriate levels of precision.