The Future of Personalized Medicine and Healthcare

A “one-size-fits-all” approach may work in some fields, but it definitely is not effective when it comes to healthcare. Technological advances in healthcare, however, are changing this and paving the way for a more personalized approach.

Without a doubt, this shift toward a more customized technique will impact business and healthcare. Here are some of the basics of personalized medicine and what this change means for the health industry.

Personalized Medicine & Healthcare 101

Imagine this scenario: A person becomes ill and visits her doctor. She is treated with a common antibiotic and told to rest. A month later, her symptoms return with a vengeance, requiring a lengthy and expensive hospital stay. Her doctor, lacking deeper insight into the patient’s medical history at the time of the initial visit, resorts to a one- size-fits-all approach to diagnosis and treatment.

Had her doctor used personalized medicine, the patient’s medical problem could have been more easily diagnosed, saving time and money while producing a better health outcome.

So what is personalized medicine and healthcare, exactly? It includes the following:

Genetic testing to determine if patients are predisposed to certain illnesses Targeted therapeutics to treat serious illness Access to accurate electronic health records to help make timely diagnoses The use of more sophisticated biographical markers to assess health risks, rather than just standard blood pressure or cholesterol numbers Software applications that use data analysis to help physicians and patients treat and manage illness

However, it is important to note that there is a difference between personalized medicine and healthcare: The former develops new treatments, while the latter is more focused on care and management. Yet all of these advances offer a novel approach to targeted treatment or help draw a more accurate picture of a patient’s health. Combined, they also have the power to make healthcare more efficient and effective.

New Opportunities

The rise of personalization in the healthcare field will have significant repercussions for investors, corporate recruiters, businesses and their executives. Personalized approaches to treatment have long been viewed as the next big advance in drug development. According to one estimate, the personalized medicine market will be worth $149 billion by 2020.

Personalized healthcare—whether in the form of telemedicine, concierge care, or simply data-enriched traditional healthcare—is also poised to make a leap as technologies mature and demographic changes occur.

The maturation of personalized medicine and healthcare will create new opportunities not only for companies and investors, but also for recruiters and personnel. The development of personalized vaccines and other cutting-edge therapies will require a significant investment in both financial and human capital. Researchers and executives with the background to develop and oversee the creation of these transformative drugs will be highly sought-after.

Moreover, given these developments, the number of available careers in areas such as genomics and bioinformatics is likely to multiply significantly. As medicine becomes more specialized, the need to recruit the best talent will become even more acute.

At IMSA, we are excited about the future of personalized medicine and healthcare. We are also committed to matching the top healthcare executives with the best organizations as these changes emerge.