Integrating Personalised Medicine into the NHS

Personalised medicine is an emerging field that brings exciting changes to patient care. So, what exactly is personalised medicine and what are its benefits?

In the past, various terms have been used interchangeably: ‘stratified medicine’, ‘personalised medicine’ and ‘precision medicine’. These terms refer to data driven medicine, in which data can be a patient’s genetic makeup, molecular data or disposition to respond to therapy. These data allow for a targeted approach to prevention, diagnosis and treatment using technologies such as genomic medicine, diagnostic tests, predictive data analytics or real-time patient monitoring.

Personalised medicine provides a revolutionary approach to healthcare with a broad range of potential benefits. Care delivered specifically for a patient’s unique characteristics is more likely to be effective than the current ‘one-size-fits all’ models of care. Clinicians can offer a more focused and effective approach in managing their patients, which is less likely to result in side-effects or adverse events. The knock-on benefits are of concern to regulators and healthcare providers alike. For patients, there can be reduced uncertainty about treatments, improved efficacy and less exposure to harmful and ineffective therapies. As well as targeted diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, personalised medicine has been found to increase patient participation in management of their own healthcare.

Given these benefits, many stakeholders are keen to see widespread adoption within the NHS. In 2014, Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England urged the NHS to become a world leader in personalised medicine. This has been bolstered by central strategic support from the government with the 2016 NHS England Improving Outcomes Through Personalised Medicine Strategy paper, and consultation process on the Building Our Industrial Strategy: green paper unveiled by the Prime Minister at the start of this year. These documents develop and unify the relevant initiatives around personalised medicine.

Investment is required for such a paradigm shift. There has already been investment to embed genome sequencing services into everyday NHS practice – including a £300 million investment in the 100,000 Genome Project. For widespread adoption by the NHS, as with other new health technologies, robust health economic methods need to be employed to quantify the benefits, investment costs, affordability and return on investment.

The team at Aquarius brings our expertise in health economics, commercial awareness and technical excellence to optimise your business success in personalised medicine. To setup a free consultation to discuss your personalised medicine product or services and how we can help you, please contact us.

Catherine Mak