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Editor's Page

Aligning Technologies With the Goals of Precision Medicine

Authored by

Winston Wong, PharmD, Editor-in-Chief


J Clin Pathways. 2020;6(7):7.

WInston WongAdvances in information and communication technology are constantly improving and streamlining how health care is being delivered, as well as how providers are interacting and interfacing with their patients. Health care providers readily have access to comprehensive research studies in diverse population groups and real-world data that offer new insight into genetics, diseases, and care outcomes at the click of a button. However, innovation can only go as far as the technology that supports it. Articles in this issue provide perspectives and experiences related to how data technology and platforms can and are advancing precision medicine. 

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and others provide national guidelines for the treatment and supportive care of women with breast cancer. However, these guidelines do not specifically address the unique needs of a young diagnosed woman. Clinicians must take the initiative to explore multiple guidelines and resources on addressing overall distress, survivorship, etc, and weave together a plan of care for their youngest breast cancer patients. Robin M Lally, PhD, MS, RN, AOCN, FAAN, and colleagues describe the development of their care model, Pathway to Cure, a multimodal eHealth platform for oncology care providers and patients. Pathway to Cure was developed by a multidisciplinary team at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in collaboration with two rural cancer centers (page 45). The resulting 6 clinical pathways on the platform include imbedded links to pertinent sections from multiple NCCN breast cancer treatment, survivorship, and other guidelines, as well as recommendations from the American Cancer Society and the American College of Sports Medicine. The Pathway to Cure website also houses continuing education webinars.

Commercial genetic testing companies have driven widespread interest in genetic and genomic testing. These direct-to-consumer tests initially focused on individuals’ ethnic and nonclinical characteristics but soon began to boast medically relevant insights. Primary care providers are often challenged with difficult-to-diagnose and unusual conditions. Thus, the concept of leveraging the value of precision medicine in primary care makes sense. To make sure this data is able to be understood, shared, and leveraged, health care organizations must consider constructing appropriate and scalable information technology systems to utilize this data effectively across the continuum of care. Joel Diamond, MD, FAAFP, traces the growth of genetic testing and outlines the actions needed to adopt the strategies and solutions necessary to integrate precision medicine into daily clinical practice (page 52). 

Finally, I am excited to remind readers that the 5th annual Oncology Clinical Pathways Congress will be taking place October 16-18 virtually. This year’s agenda features sessions on leveraging clinical pathways to assist in prior authorizations and in alternative payment models, and meaningful integration of the patient voice in pathways (page 21). If you haven’t registered yet, readers can use the code “JCP” to save $50 on the rate.

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