What Is Precision Health?
Why it's gaining traction
There is a growing concept floating around the healthcare world called “precision health”. You may have heard of it or maybe not, either way, we’re here to bring you up to speed. Whether you are a healthcare provider, a company offering care services, or a patient curious about treatment options, this is a blog you will want to stick around for!
Keep scrolling for a deep dive into precision health and the reasons it’s taking the industry by storm.
What is precision health?
Let’s start with the basics. Precision health focuses on providing preventative care for patients. In other words, staying one step ahead of serious diseases and illnesses. The goal is to pivot the healthcare system from taking a reactive approach to a proactive one.
To reach this goal, healthcare providers are practicing precision medicine when seeing their patients. Precision medicine, also referred to as personalized medicine, helps providers identify a patient’s health risks based on their individual genes, environment, background and lifestyle.
Why is precision health gaining traction?
There is a reason, multiple actually, why precision health is generating some big buzz. It brings many unbeatable benefits, if fully adopted, to the medical field and patients’ health.
Shifts the healthcare model from reactive to preventative The precision health approach focuses on looking at the patient’s entire genetic makeup and history. This gives providers the opportunity to identify health risks and intervene before these diseases or conditions become advanced.
Reduces trial-and-error prescribing Did you know, according to Reprocell.com, almost 50% of patients do not benefit from the first drug they are offered in treatment? Using genetics and other information allows the provider to select a drug that the patient will benefit from to bring that percentage way down.
Increases patient adherence to treatment An issue that providers constantly run into is patients not following the treatment plan laid out for them. This is not only frustrating for the provider but also can worsen the patient’s health outcomes. Precision medicine gives the provider more information to base their treatment plan on and also gives patients confidence that the treatment they are receiving will work. In turn, increasing patient compliance to treatment.
Those benefits are pretty amazing, right? We’re sure you noticed that we threw around that precision health improves care outcomes a few times and you are probably wondering how.
How can precision health improve care outcomes?
There are two buckets of precision health that work together to improve care outcomes:
prediction and prevention
treatment and management
Prediction and prevention
The first bucket is prediction and prevention. Exactly what it sounds like, it focuses on predicting health risks that may affect the patient in the future and preventing them from coming to fruition. Let’s explore what this bucket entails:
Family health history helps predict what diseases a patient is at risk for getting
Many chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, cancer, or diabetes are genetic and can run in families. A patient’s family health history is extremely useful for providers to know so they can advise you on steps to prevent these risks or detect them early.
Personal devices can help track patient health information
Smart watches or health applications are becoming extremely useful in the health field and have helped prevent patient health issues from worsening. For example, many smart watches on the market monitor heart health and alert the users if any changes have been detected and they should seek medical care.
Newborn screenings to identify medical concerns early
Speaking of preventing health risks early, babies born in the United States are checked shortly after birth for medical issues. These screenings can identify conditions and begin treatment sooner to prevent disability or fatal health risks.
Treatment and management
The second bucket is treatment and management which focuses on using precision medicine to effectively treat and manage a patient after they have been diagnosed with a condition or disease. Let’s explore what this bucket contains:
DNA research to prescribe the drug and dose that is most effective
Pharmacogenomics, a big word we know, examines an individual’s DNA to see how they would respond to specific drugs. Using this, providers are able to pick a drug and dose that is most likely to be the most effective and safe in the treatment of a patient.
Remote patient monitoring to treat chronic conditions
Remote patient monitoring devices are proving to be extremely helpful in treating chronic conditions. These devices allow consistent monitoring and constant reporting of a patient’s condition which helps providers properly manage and treat the user. This combined with knowing the patient’s complete history and genetic makeup makes for an unbeatable treatment plan.
Tumor profiling helps providers choose the best treatment plan
Although patients can have the same type of cancer, based on their DNA and the genetic makeup of their tumor, they may need completely different treatments. Tumor profiling is the genetic testing of a tumor and helps physicians choose a personalized treatment plan that will be most effective for the patient.
How does telehealth support precision health?
With the advancements in technology and the increasing usage of telehealth as a care delivery method, applying the precision health approach to medicine just got a lot easier. We already talked about remote patient monitoring, which is a form of telehealth, and how it plays an integral part in the precision medicine approach. But, there are so many more ways telemedicine helps switch the healthcare narrative from reactive to preventative.
Two primary ones worth spotlighting are the opportunity for more frequent checkups between patient and provider, and the huge emphasis placed on deeply examining the patient background and family history. Both lean on telehealth for patients to be able to communicate back-and-forth efficiently without having to make a trip to the doctor’s office each time.
The wrap up
Making a change is never easy, especially when it comes to pivoting the way the medical system views and delivers treatment. But with all the benefits precision health could offer, there is a huge opportunity to improve the overall population health with this model. Our bet? You’ll be seeing much more on precision health in the months and years ahead.
Speaking of making a positive impact in healthcare… We’d love for you to stick around so we can introduce OpenLoop!
At OpenLoop, we like to think of ourselves as a telehealth company that powers other telehealth companies. We can take on all of the behind-the-scenes operations involved with launching and scaling virtual care services so our clients can focus on serving more patients in need of care.
We have a vast clinician network of certified, multi-state licensed providers spanning a variety of specialties. They have been pre-vetted by the OpenLoop team through our NCQA certified credentialing process and are ready to support the delivery of telehealth services in all 50 states.
In addition to seamless staffing aligned to your organization’s core values, we can also:
Onboard your company with our PC groups & MSO
Consult and support your team as experts in the telehealth space
Manage all clinician scheduling and payroll
Sound like something you’d be interested in? We’d love to set up a time to connect with you on your telehealth delivery goals. Get in touch here!