Precision medicine (PM) is a medical model that proposes the customization of healthcare, with medical decisions, practices, and/or products being tailored to the individual patient. In this model, diagnostic testing is often employed for selecting appropriate and optimal therapies based on the context of a patient’s genetic content or other molecular or cellular analysis. Tools employed in PM can include molecular diagnostics, imaging, and analytics/software.
Personalized medicine is a medical procedure that separates patients into different groups—with medical decisions, practices, interventions and/or products being tailored to the individual patient based on their predicted response or risk of disease. The terms personalized medicine, precision medicine, stratified medicine and P4 medicine are used interchangeably to describe this concept though some authors and organisations use these expressions separately to indicate particular nuances.
While the tailoring of treatment to patients dates back at least to the time ofHippocrates, the term has risen in usage in recent years given the growth of new diagnostic and informatics approaches that provide understanding of the molecular basis of disease, particularly genomics. This provides a clear evidence base on which to stratify (group) related patients.
Predictive medicine is a field of medicine that entails predicting the probability of disease and instituting preventive measures in order to either prevent the disease altogether or significantly decrease its impact upon the patient (such as by preventingmortality or limiting morbidity). While different prediction methodologies exist, such as genomics, proteomics, and cytomics, the most fundamental way to predict future disease is based on genetics. Although proteomics and cytomics allow for the early detection of disease, much of the time those detect biological markers that exist because a disease process has alreadystarted.
However, comprehensive genetic testing (such as through the use of DNA arrays or full genome sequencing) allows for the estimation of disease risk years to decades before any disease even exists, or even whether a healthy fetus is at higher risk for developing a disease in adolescence or adulthood. Individuals who are more susceptible to disease in the future can be offered lifestyle advice or medication with the aim of preventing the predicted illness.
Current genetic testing guidelines supported by the health care professionals discourage purely predictive genetic testing of minors until they are competent to understand the relevancy of genetic screening so as to allow them to participate in the decision about whether or not it is appropriate for them. Genetic screening of newborns and children in the field of predictive medicine is deemed appropriate if there is a compelling clinical reason to do so, such as the availability of prevention or treatment as a child that would prevent future disease.
Patient participation, also called shared decision-making, is a process in which both the patient and physician contribute to the medical decision-making process. Health care providers explain treatments and alternatives to patients to provide the necessary resources for patients to choose the treatment option that best aligns with their unique cultural and personal beliefs. Participatory medicine, patient-centered care, and health consumerism are all synonyms for patient participation.
In contrast, the biomedical care system places physicians in a position of authority with patients playing a passive role in care. Physicians instruct patients about what to do, and the patients often follow the physicians’ advice.
A general paradigm shift has occurred in which patients are more involved in medical decision-making than before. For example, a recent review of 115 patient participation studies found that the majority of respondents preferred to participate in medical decision-making in only 50% of studies prior to 2000, while 71% of studies after 2000 found a majority of respondents who wanted to participate. Many health agencies, including the American Cancer Society and the American College of Physicians, recommend patient participation in their medical practices.
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