While the term “precision medicine” – medical diagnosis and treatment based on the individual characteristics of a person – is relatively new, as a concept it has been a goal of healthcare systems for some time. Today, for example, cystic fibrosis patients with certain gene mutations can take advantage of specifically tailored medications to help improve lung function, enabling them to live well for longer. Or, a woman with breast cancer can receive targeted therapies proven to be much more effective based on her genetic makeup.
Precision medicine is, at its core, the recognition that each of us is unique, and our healthcare treatment or therapy should be unique as well. Few would argue that it doesn’t represent the future of healthcare. Everyone wants personalized care. Now, in an era of unprecedented data resources and analytics capabilities, precision medicine seems tantalizingly in reach; however, achieving it will require unprecedented levels of coordination and focus.
As a company deeply rooted in diagnostic imaging, Philips is keenly interested in the first part of the precision medicine challenge – precision diagnosis. Indeed, we believe that the accurate diagnosis of the underlying condition via all available data – genetic, pathological, historical, and demographic – is the crux of precision medicine. The more accurate and specific we can be on the diagnosis, including identifying those who may be at higher risk of certain conditions from the outset, the more effectively and cost-efficiently we can treat the condition or disease.