Advocating for Precision Medicine

By Patrick Geraghty

Nontraditional players are recasting the future of care delivery, and GuideWell is counted among them. That’s why we organized ourselves as a health solutions company, why we embrace an entrepreneurial role in direct-to-consumer care delivery, and why we are joining partners on the leading edge of the precision medicine movement. The latter is keenly important to us since we know that tomorrow’s diagnostics and treatment will positively impact the effectiveness – and cost – of care. As we see it, advocating for precision medicine is one way we can accomplish our mission of helping people and communities achieve better health.

Last October, I was asked to present at the Mayo Clinic Individualizing Medicine Conference. Mayo and others have recognized that we are passionate about adopting new, proven regimens of care that benefit our members. Now, I am heartened to see that the National Institutes of Health’s Precision Medicine Initiative is working to galvanize support around key focal points:

  • Creating a large U.S. research cohort;
  • Empowering patients not just as participants, but drivers in how care is delivered;
  • Making health data collection and sharing frictionless and secure; and
  • Translating research to practical, clinical care.

There can be no doubt that the key to solving our nation’s chronic health conditions is to focus on prevention, which ultimately means changing people’s behavior. Making the healthy choice the easy choice is something GuideWell is committed to advancing. Yet understanding an individual’s genetic disposition to disease, and knowing what drugs will be the most effective combatting that disease with the fewest side effects, provides everyone a next-generation tool in their health toolkit. It also has the potential to reduce the cost of care by eliminating the “one size fits all” treatment approach. If you consider the continuum of how people are well in the first place, preventive care combined with precision medicine might just be the population health breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

As a leader, I’m not threatened by changes in the health care market or industry. I’m also not one to sit on the sidelines when our members’ health is at stake. Rather, my approach is to discern how those forces of change can be harnessed to yield meaningful results for the members I serve. Partnering with those who will help us deliver solutions from the precision medicine movement is one of my highest priorities this year. I look forward to sharing more on those partnerships in the future, and tracking the developments of the NIH’s Precision Medicine Initiative as they unfold.

About the Author

Kate Warnock

Kate is the social media manager for the GuideWell enterprise, and specializes in creating content that connects GuideWell with health influencers in the social space. Find her corporate podcasts on iTunes and follow her on Twitter @mkatewarnock.