Personalized medicine can offer better-targeted treatments, health system cost savings and an enhanced understanding of care options’ comparative effectiveness. This health care model would be further enhanced by the use of information technology to aggregate health care data so that researchers can develop a new understanding of what types of therapies will work for what types of people. But as government stimulus funds for health information technology are spent, what can be done to ensure that new systems are capable of handling, sharing and analyzing the genetic and outcomes data needed to promote the continued development of personalized medicine? What policies are needed to ensure that the public investment in health information technology supports new paradigms – like personalized medicine – rather than just automating and capturing medical practices of the past?
On January 28, the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings hosted a policy discussion focused on the challenges of enabling personalized medicine, as well as the policy and operational changes that would facilitate connectivity, integration, reimbursement reform and secondary analysis of information. Vice President and Director of Governance Studies Darrell West presented key findings and recommendations from his forthcoming paper about the public policy actions needed to ensure that health information technology facilitates the adoption of personalized medicine in the U.S. healthcare system. David Brailer, chairman of Health Evolution Partners and the first “health information czar” during the Bush administration, delivered a keynote address.
After the program, speakers took audience questions.