The Future of Personalized Medicine

by Larry Emmott on January 16, 2012

in Future Tech,Security

From the WSJ

Take a moment to imagine what it would be like to live robustly to the ripe old age of 100 or more. You wouldnt die of any particular illness, and you wouldnt gradually waste away under the spell of some awful, enfeebling disease…Most of the conditions that kill us, including cancer and heart disease, could be prevented or delayed by a new way of looking at and treating health…

via The Future of Personalized Medicine – WSJ.com.

Related to this book I am reading right now:

Both the WSJ article by Dr. Davis Agus  and the book forsee a future where we can use digital technology to scan our physiology constantly to better understand our health and prevent disease. That is both as an individual and as a species.

One of the future systems that will make this possible is a huge data base of health information that can be searched and used to better understand and treat disease. For example Dr. Agus writes:

The database might show, for example, that people with a particular genetic profile respond to one type of cancer treatment but not another.

I completely agree in theory. However at this time I believe that most people do not trust the Internet or if you prefer “The Cloud” to keep their personal data private. When we are faced with news reports of significant Internet security failures on a regular basis it is understandable why people feel this way. Despite government privacy rules and industry assurances the perception is that online data is not secure.

Another huge factor holding back the adaptation of a universal medical data base is politics. There are many very large stake holders in the medical industry including, hospitals, biomedical insustry, government, pharmacuticals, insurers and of course pysicians and patients. These groups all want control of the future EHR and who has access to the data. In the meantime they can not even agree on what must be or should be or might be part of the EHR.

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