You're a unique individual. So am I. So is each member of your family. Your friends. Colleagues. And Acquaintances. We're all unique individuals, each with our personal clinical history, social experiences, ways of life, and perhaps most importantly…a unique genome.

The combination of genomic data and other information can reveal the best treatment and prevention strategies for your brother's heart disease, your wife's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, your friend's depression.

Today, we have more accessible, individual patient data than ever before - and the amount continually grows. So why then does today's model of care still largely apply treatments to conditions instead of individual patient circumstances?

It shouldn't.

This is not a pie-in-the-sky idea. Unique, individual, truly personalized patient care is on our immediate horizon. The era of Precision Medicine is here.

Consider:

Clearly, momentum is gathering globally - so why aren't we being more ambitious about our targets? Why should people wait five years (or more) to have their genome mapped? Why can't the resultant data make a meaningful difference to their health record in a shorter timeframe?

Most would say cost is the driving factor, but, costs are quickly diminishing. A great summary of this is available in a Medical Daily article from this past September. To paraphrase:

  • Sequencing the first genome took 15 years, with a cost of US$3 billion.
  • Eight years later, the cost of sequencing one genome dropped 99.67%. Great news, for sure, but still not affordable for virtually anyone at US$10 million.
  • Fast forward to today? Would you believe US$1,000 per person with results available within 24 hours?
  • And the way the cost is declining, by 2020 it may be only US$10 per person.

It's true. It's the new reality. The technology and science exists at an affordable cost and timeframe to do this NOW. There's no need to wait…In fact, at Orion Health, we believe it's our duty.

Our home country, New Zealand, has plans for launching a national EHR. But, technology and science have evolved. What we all need now - no matter your nationality - is a Precision Medicine platform: technology that combines all relevant data about an individual - all health determinants including social, behavioural and genomics - so clinicians are empowered to provide care that treats individuals and their unique circumstances, not just broad conditions.

We've taken action recently to make this vision a reality, beginning in New Zealand, by announcing our partnership with Medtech and CSC. Together, we will join hospital level clinical data with primary care data and personal health data. The real impact? We will link this integrated, clinical data to genomics, microbiomics, proteomics and other new health information types to enable a truly personalized healthcare system. At Orion Health, we've invested in evolving our open data platform and yesterday launched Orion Health Amadeus, the platform for Precision Medicine.

To say Precision Medicine is ground-breaking is an understatement. It is set to fundamentally change the way healthcare is delivered over the next decade, not just in New Zealand, but around the world.