Personalized healthcare is a set of practices in which health practitioners obtain genetic data from individual patients to diagnose, prevent, and treat specific diseases.
It has been an emerging field in medicine and healthcare, specifically after the human genome project. Scientists are looking for advanced options to treat chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, hepatitis, HIV, and hypertension, and genetic studies will help them develop more reliable and economical methods for treatment. Although it is beneficial for both patients and doctors, there are many challenges that have been faced. Visit Craft Concierge and read more about personalized primary care.
The most prominent innovation in personalized healthcare is “personalized medicine”. According to the definition of the Human Genome Research Institute,
“Personalized medicine is an emerging practice of medicine that uses an individual’s genetic profile to guide decisions made in regard to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease.” (“Personalized Medicine – National Human Genome Research Institute”)
The entire human body’s data is stored in its genome. Every individual has a different genotype, so the drug or treatment should be different according to his genomic data.
The first advantage of employing genetic data in personalized healthcare is disease prevention through early diagnosis.
Some diseases, like cancer, osteoarthritis, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, appendicitis, and celiac disease, cannot be diagnosed at the first attempt. Individual genetic information helps in identifying the changes and reactions in the body that might occur due to specific disease development. (Laura H. Goetz, 2018)
The second advantage of employing genetic data in personalized healthcare is choosing the right drug for the right person at the right time. This concept is called pharmacogenomics.
Pharmacogenomics (Rose, 2013) is a discipline in which medicines are prescribed to patients based on their genetic makeup, after studying the molecular basis of that specific disease or infection, so that the response of medicine to that condition can be recognized.
The third advantage of genetic testing in personalized healthcare is that it decreases mortality rates. In the past, people took drugs but didn’t know if they would affect them or not, and some died due to the wrong prescription of medicines. This condition not only affects patients but also poses negative impacts on the country’s economy and manpower.
So, adopting advanced methods to diagnose and treat diseases, such as taking the genetic information of the individual patient and prescribing medications or therapies according to their genetic profile, medical history, and physical activity, helps doctors minimize the number of deaths.
- The big challenge in taking the genetic information of individuals is public trust. Now, People are more cautious about their personal data than previously due to the increasing number of crimes and advanced technology. Making sure that their personal data will only be used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes is very challenging.
- Another challenge is the limited availability of resources, including infrastructure, logistics, and insufficient equipment, to manufacture medicines according to an individual’s genetic profile.
- The gap between pharmaceutical industries and research institutes poses another challenge. Developing personalized medicines requires extensive research and study, that must use patients’ genetic data to obtain better results.
- Genetic testing also creates emotional, social, and mental health issues. By taking information about one person, you create tension in his entire family. Sometimes, family members become afraid of the leakage of databases, and this makes them anxious and panic. In this situation, misconceptions and conflicts occur.
- Another big challenge in genetic testing is the handling of genetic information. There is always a risk of creating discrimination because of genetic information. So careful handling and utilization of patients’ genetic information is crucial.
By spreading awareness about the benefits of genetic testing among people and convincing governments about its long-term outcomes in the medical and healthcare fields, we can overcome these challenges.
In the future, personalized healthcare is going to be revolutionized due to genetic testing and advanced technology. People will become more aware of the benefits and outcomes of taking genetic tests and knowing about their genetic profile. Governments are ready to spend a lot of budgets on advancements in medical diagnosis and treatment.
Personalized healthcare has become more advanced due to the insights that have been gained from genetic testing. Now, chronic and viral diseases are easier to control than previously. Although there are still many challenges in the way of developing personalized medicines and making the process of disease elimination easy, there is hope that these efforts and passion will bring about novel changes in medical and healthcare departments.