A cancer diagnosis is terrifying, and treatment choices are complex, with profound impacts on finances and quality of life. There are usually several treatment options presented to patients, depending on the patient’s age, other medical conditions, and the severity of the disease. All treatments are associated with their benefits and tradeoffs. As a result, physicians are faced with the challenge of foretelling the future and recommending appropriate treatments to each patient. Leaving patients to make difficult and emotional choices about survival, treatment, quality of life, and cost.
Every patient is unique, yet our current system comprises treatment protocols based on research conducted on a select group of participants. Existing clinical standards do not adequately address questions like, “What is the right treatment for me, given my risk factors?” As a result, patients are often recommended treatments with no clinical benefit. The impact of these unnecessary treatments and procedures is a high cost to the patients and the system. Consequently, a critical goal in healthcare is to create strategies to stop treating patients with therapies that generate little or no clinical benefit and focus on determining which treatment is right for each patient.
Personalization is the future of healthcare. Outcomes information and analytical tools are necessary to enable true personalization.
Personalized medicine employs advanced analytics, such as statistical models, big data, and AI, to explore an individual patient’s unique genetic, demographic, and health conditions. These are often referred to as “patient-specific factors.” A unique patient profile is a starting point for weighing various treatments and expected outcomes, and this information can then be used to develop a treatment plan.
Disease progression is different for everyone; a patient’s stage and other health conditions significantly impact prognosis and treatment decisions. It is important to define the pre-existing health conditions that affect the patient and incorporate these factors into the patient profile. These factors often have profound effects on outcomes and the treatment decision process.
New scientific discoveries and technologies are emerging to test for genomic and genetic mutations. This information is significant in creating targeted treatments. Genetic mutations are linked to how well certain medications will work for an individual, how well an individual will handle a certain drug, and can determine an individual’s risk of genetic diseases.
Quality of Life and Functioning
An additional concern for patients involves the tradeoffs and comparative costs of different treatment options. Some treatments have big tradeoffs regarding side effects and the ability to perform day-to-day activities, like working, driving, cooking, and self-care. To some patients, quality of life matters more than the length of life, so it is important for a patient to fully understand the predicted outcomes and expected tradeoffs of each treatment option.
Finances are a critical concern to many patients. It is essential to present the patient with a projected cost of treatment, a comparison of providers, and costs associated with possible treatment complications. Providing information on the costs associated with a treatment plan is critical in patient-centric and value-based care decisions, especially given the prevalence of high-deductible insurance plans.
Clinical studies are frequently designed to determine efficacy rather than effectiveness, meaning trials determine whether a treatment produces the expected result under ideal circumstances. Effectiveness trials measure the degree of success in “real world” clinical settings. Trials generally study younger, healthier, and less diverse participants than typical real-world patient populations; therefore, the results do not always hold in everyday practice.
The result is that healthcare providers and their patients cannot access the relevant, personalized information required for personalized care. They need data from population-based trials of effectiveness among “all comers” to truly provide patients with enough information to make an informed decision.
Outcomes and Insights to Support Personalized Healthcare
At its core, personalized medicine empowers informed choices based on values and preferences. These decisions are so complex and personal that they transcend the capabilities of technology alone. Technology, however, can be used to empower individuals with the necessary information to make informed decisions.
MyCancerJourney is the first and only tool to combine this technology with the holistic support of board-certified navigators to help give patients the confidence to make difficult treatment decisions.
Personalization is the future of healthcare. MyCancerJourney enables true personalization by combining high-tech real-world data and artificial intelligence with high-touch patient support. Get in touch with MyCancerJourney via this Online Form, and we will get back to you within one business day.