Precision medicine to transform health IT market in 4 ways

As genomics moves beyond the confines of academic medical centers and multi-hospital health systems, the population health needs of smaller providers should spur technology improvements on several fronts.
By Mike Miliard
01:06 PM
Precision medicine genomics report from HIMSS Analytics

Fewer than one-third of healthcare providers polled for the newest HIMSS Analytics Essentials Brief are currently pursuing precision medicine initiatives – with the majority who don't saying that limitations in funding, technology or expertise are holding them back. But that's poised to change very soon.

Indeed, the places where genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors are factored into clinical treatment and disease prevention tend to be research-based organizations such as academic medical centers (35 percent), multi-hospital health systems (25 percent) or larger providers with more than 500 beds (41 percent).

But the promise of precision medicine is too tantalizing to stay so segmented, and HIMSS Analytics sees the trend shaping IT solutions in four key ways in the near future.

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The report, which polled 137 professionals at AMCs, health systems and standalone hospital, sees opportunities for precision medicine integration to shape technology offerings on four main fronts.

Electronic health records. Integration of genetic and environmental health data with EHRs – and easy availability and usability in clinical settings – is key to precision medicine's growth. The HIMSS report shows that, as genomics, proteomics and metabolomics become essential components in crafting treatment plans, technology vendors will need to show they can help harness that data and incorporate it into clinicians' workflows.

Indeed, 60 percent of the respondents to the online survey cited integration of clinical data systems as the biggest hurdle to their precision medicine efforts.

[Special report: Precision medicine: Analytics, data science and EHRs in the new age]

Population health management platforms. With two-thirds of healthcare organizations focusing their efforts (to varying degrees) on pop health initiatives, technology systems that do better collecting and analyzing of genomic and environmental data could help providers with their preventative medicine and chronic disease management projects, according to the study.

Clinical analytics tools. HIMSS Analytics LOGIC intelligence tool shows current provider market penetration for analytics technology exceeding 40 percent. As precision medicine efforts increase in prevalence, that number should steadily rise, with clinical and business intelligence tools growing in sophistication.

Vendor partnerships with professional organizations. "Large academic medical centers and professional societies are already benefiting from partnerships with IT start-up companies focused on precision medicine," writes HIMSS Analytics' Director of Research Brendan FitzGerald. "Not only does the adoption of these specific platforms help further the advances in precision medicine, but these relationships foster the competitive environments that will help drive innovation to new heights."

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