Expanding Precision Medicine: The Path to Higher Value Care


Healthcare providers around the world can unlock the power of precision medicine for better care and lower cost. Harvard Business Review Analytics Services (HBR) published a new whitepaper for executives and leaders in healthcare on how to expand precision medicine and scale it up to an organizational level

Precision in medicine holds a significant potential to increase the value of care. It focuses on achieving a precise diagnosis followed by individualized treatment, while at the same time delivering high and consistent quality of care by reducing variations and costs at scale.

HBR assesses the current status of care and how expanding precision medicine is already delivering high value in various areas. They suggest to expand the approach beyond the more traditional genomic focus and to base it on four pillars:

  • Improve diagnostic accuracy
    Delivering the right treatment at the right time requires an accurate diagnosis. Making that diagnosis can be a long and complex undertaking, and mistakes along the way are not uncommon. To help physicians make accurate diagnoses at an early stage of disease, they can take advantage of a wide range of advanced technologies that can yield higher quality laboratory and imaging results than were previously available, which in turn can yield rich patient insights at the point of decision. They also can take a more global approach to diagnosing, drawing not just on their own medical training and experience but also on big data in appropriate settings.
  • Reduce unwarranted variations in diagnosis
    More than making sure that diagnoses are accurate, though, expanding precision medicine requires that they be accurate each and every time – no matter who is doing the testing and diagnostics, no matter how much experience they have, no matter where the testing is being done, and no matter who is reading the test. Diagnostic consistency is possible through standardization, adaptation to the patient, automation, assistance in physicians’ decision-making, and integrating technology into the diagnostic process.
  • Personalize care when it matters
    For optimal effectiveness, medical treatment must be tailored to the characteristics of both the patient and the disease. Today, this sort of customization is increasingly possible thanks to advances in genomics, proteomics and metabolomics – and to the advent of smart data and the tools to process it.
  • Utilize advanced therapies
    Among the most important developments in medicine for expanding precision medicine are advances in image-guided therapy that allow physicians to replace traditional open surgeries with stereotactic surgery, radiosurgery, radiofrequency ablation, balloon angioplasty or stents for endovascular aneurysm repair and other minimally-invasive procedures.