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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Personalised Medicine and/or Personalised Health Information Services

I came across a website and eHealth service recently called Medivizor. Seems like I have had the wrong idea about what "personalised medicine" means. I needed to enter it as a search term in Pubmed and discovered 932 articles that had nothing to do with my idea of it. That is, my idea was more in line with the health information services provided by Medivizor. The articles I found in Pubmed were more like "personalized genomics or pharmaceuticals". For example, this article: "Metabolomics as a tool for drug discovery and personalised medicine. A review."

While there may be nothing wrong with that, especially if they want to use genomics to replace parts in me, my idea had more to do with the kinds of health information one should be getting through a personal health record (ePHR), depending on one's own unique state of health. But if I do a Pubmed search on "personalised medicine and personal health records", I get almost exactly what I am thinking about (but only 6 articles). The first article is called:

Wang HQ, Li JS, Zhang YF, Suzuki M, Araki K.
Artif Intell Med. 2013 Jun;58(2):81-9. doi: 10.1016/j.artmed.2013.02.005. Epub 2013 Mar 5.
People search the net for health information and Google is a vast resource. It is better to narrow the scope and only get the health information related to one's personal conditions or searching - be they chronic or not - and to make sure that information is trusted. The Optimal Aging Portal is one such service, but at the current time, that information isn't being personalised or fed into individual ePHRs. All is not lost: patients do have their family doctor for personalised medical attention. End of story.

Getting that trusted health information, if it isn't directly from your family doctor, is a work of monumental scientific promise. A recent overview article that caught the interest of the health informatics community is found here: "Stop Googling your health questions. Use these sites instead":
 http://www.vox.com/2014/9/8/6005999/why-you-should-never-use-dr-google-to-search-for-health-information
That's a lot of knowledge translation to get healthcare consumers to wise up about the health information they are seeking.

The best idea would be if the there is a health informatics professional(s) in the family health team who can work in consultation with the family doctor so that personalized and trusted health information most relevant for them is getting to them through the ePHR. Can't leave it all up to AI and algorithms, but who knows?