The Benefits And Challenges Of Introducing Healthcare Personalization

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One of the most popular emerging trends in healthcare this year has been the use of personalized healthcare. With the use of technology, artificial intelligence and big data healthcare providers and consumers alike are now able to tailor their healthcare according to their needs and preferences. According to industry experts and medical professionals alike, personalized healthcare is the future of the industry and could very well be the answer to better efficiency in a fragile healthcare system. It is also a significant indicator of what’s to come in digital health technology. Digital healthcare companies raised over $6.7 billion in venture funding during the first 3 months of 2021 alone. From improving doctor-patient relationships to improving the effectiveness of existing treatments, here is how the personalization of healthcare is changing the landscape- for the better. 

A Better Focus On Preventative Healthcare

Predictive analytics is set to be one of the fastest-growing segments in the healthcare industry. In the Healthcare Predictive Analytics Market report 2021, the market is set to experience a CAGR of 9.8 percent. Using data mining, artificial intelligence, and predictive modeling, predictive analytics can help healthcare providers spot those at higher risks for certain conditions, detect early onset of patient deterioration and reduce hospital re-admission rates by providing better at-home care. In a survey from the Society of Actuaries, 60 percent of healthcare professionals say their organization has adopted predictive analytics. A good example in this area is the AWARE Sepsis Dart, which tracks early signs of sepsis and can be tracked using an IPad. 

Data Personalization Could Mean Better Tailored Treatments And Therapies

The customization of patient treatment plans means healthcare providers will be more certain about their patient’s health and will be able to make more educated treatment decisions from the onset of their diagnosis. This is particularly apparent in the use of personalized medicine. With differences in response to medications and treatments across multiple groups, harnessing the empower of medical data will enable providers to gain a better insight into each patient. This, in turn, enables healthcare providers to create the right course of treatment at the right time for a patient. 

It is also hoped that the use of this concept will drive a decrease in the trial and error approach and the likelihood of adverse reactions to treatments from patients. Almost 81 million adverse reactions are experienced by the 170 million Americans who are taking prescription drugs for medical conditions. Fast forward to today and 1 in 4 of the new drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are personalized medicines. One particular segment that has seen the most growth has been the customized multivitamin market. Since 1 in 3 Americans takes multivitamins, companies have capitalized on the gap to provide data-driven tailored supplements for differing lifestyles and medical conditions.

The Delicate Balance Between Over-Personalization Versus Scaling Up

However, while we move away from a one size fits all healthcare experience, some risks come with it. For healthcare providers to create personalized experiences, they must be able to personalize those experiences at scale. The question of whether they will be able to produce a sustainable model of patient personalization on such a large scale remains unanswered at this point. For instance, enabling hyper-personalization and allowing physicians to access personalized predictive data for customized treatment plans also introduces data management risks for healthcare providers. 

Cyberattacks on the healthcare sector are rising, as cybercriminals see the wealth of personalized data and opportunities that such databases provide. The increase in data annually can also create additional pressure on the system. Another challenge for providers in providing personalized healthcare will be providing equitable access to the technology. The concept and technology supporting customized treatment plans are still relatively new and remain largely out of reach for the everyday consumer. 

There are also ample opportunities to reduce the financial and economic burden of treating chronic conditions like diabetes. While there is no doubt that the introduction of healthcare personalization will bring much-needed improvements to the user experience, there remain some key risks that need to be addressed going forward.