By Dr. Janet Brill
The nature of healthcare has evolved in the last couple of years because of breakthrough discoveries made by researchers. For instance, blood cancer has a quite diverse genetic component, which was recently published by scientists. The study of these genetic markers can help physicians and patients to create personalized treatment medicine plans.
Traditional ideas of diagnosis are now moving towards integrated diagnosis, and treatment methodologies are shifting towards a preventive model. The four P approach of medicine includes personalized, predictive, preventive and participatory models. It can be effectively employed for improving the state of healthcare.
The need for involvement
The most important stakeholder in the healthcare paradigm is the public. The new approach highlights the significance of awareness and input from the public themselves. Studies done in this regard reveal that patient participation is a major component and helps in aspects such as decision making and the management of chronic diseases. Lack of appropriate knowledge regarding routine health has been labeled as a major deterrent towards positive outcomes.
In this regard, the P4 model benefits consumers because the detection of disease is made at an earlier stage, which in turn reduces the total cost of the treatment. Secondly, input from the patient and their genetic information can help in the selection of an optimal therapy. The biggest benefit of genetic information is that adverse drug reactions are avoided, while non-responsive therapies are ignored. This approach has assisted in identifying non-responders in interferon therapy, allowing physicians to explore alternate means.
Moreover, the participatory model improves the state of patient assessment. Preemption is an integral part of participation. Patients can look at various tests for the early prediction of potentially dangerous conditions such as cancers. Drug testing services can help in analyzing the impact of medicine on the body and how different organs and body systems react to different treatments. This improves both the ‘biochemistry’ of medicine as well as the efficacy of dosage requirements. Through such testing, the doctor can determine the ideal dose, and help the patient stay safe.
The auxiliary benefit of the P4 model is that the information of genetic and drug testing can be used by researchers to develop more effective drug targets. A benefit of this can be seen with the development of in silico prediction models, in which information from patients is used to find targets for a number of difficult to treat diseases.
It’s more about the patient
The idea presented above provides us with a new model of wellness, which is based on information discovery and action. Times have changed from conventional testing toward a very micro focused genomic assessment, which can be seen in studies done to study organ specific proteins and understand the disease causing mechanism.
A study involving 2,765 ethnically diverse patients reported that decision making within healthcare is more dependent on the patient now. The relation between physicians and related healthcare staff is no more of a ‘paternalistic’ nature. It is more integrated and knowledge driven. The study reported that patients who had a higher role in decision making generally tend to have a more positive outcome.
Based on the analysis given above, the public should focus on deeper involvement with their healthcare issues. This active participation can be done based on the P4 model and, through this approach, disease prevention can be carried out affordably.