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IEEPO recap- further thoughts on the promise of personalised medicine

last week i had the opportunity to attend the international experience exchange for patient organizations [IEEPO] in rome, italy.  the theme — “personalised healthcare- what’s in for patients” explored topics like digital health interventions, data collection and sharing and policy, with an overall conference emphasis on the need to co-create and collaborate.  what rang loud and clear from this meeting was that the need of not only working together in tandem was necessary but also that the discussions needed to start now. 

what i have come to understand over the last few years is europe’s willingness to invest in innovation and their desire in making cancer a priority— sadly the same willingness hasn’t translated into canada which is why it will be primordial for these discussions to start happening now. 

the promise of personalised medicine doesn’t just mean better outcomes for patients, it means better and more efficient drug development, it means collection of real-world data and evidence for better informed policy decisions— it provides a stepping stone for value-based healthcare and innovative funding models, and ultimately it leads to better health.

entire healthcare solutions will need to be built to personalise care to individual patients but with sustainability of care a global issue, where do we start?

gathering patient organizations globally to discuss personalised medicine and clearly identify what personalised medicine means was a great start but patient organizations can’t be expected to create the platform for change on how personalised healthcare is delivered. successful implementation of personalised medicine requires active participation from a variety of stakeholders, with dialogue happening at every level and it needs to start happening now so that within a hospital, community, province, agency, government office, country and globally we are all operating with the same definition of what personalised medicine actually means as well as an understanding of what personalised medicine can deliver throughout the cancer continuum and within healthcare. 

in order to make the vision of personalised medicine tangible we need to: 

  1. shift from collecting big data to collecting meaningful data and tailor offerings to each patient 

  2. utilize technology and advanced analytics to make sense of this data and translate it into action to develop and transform drug development and to make sense of medical knowledge and translate it into care plans

  3. foster collaboration and open dialogue to create a pathway towards personalised medicine. all stakeholders will need to come together including physicians, healthcare professionals, healthcare systems, regulators, patient communities, industry, payors through cross collaborative efforts and look for new ways of thinking about partnerships

we need to start thinking today about how we are innovating and investing in the future of healthcare and that will also mean looking at and changing what just isn’t working anymore. this includes shifting our conversations from one of cost to one of value when we are thinking about expensive but effective therapies and diagnostics, and moving healthcare spending to one tied to patient outcomes and value-based models.

we are at an unprecedented time in healthcare, and the actions we take today will lay the foundation for our healthcare systems tomorrow— can we do things better? the answer is yes, but we need to do work together to create an ecosystem that supports personalised medicine.


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