Up until only a few years ago, you always needed to visit a doctor’s office to have certain tests, be able to obtain a diagnosis about a condition or illness, or converse with your doctor or other healthcare professionals about various treatment options. However, the concept of personalized medicine has changed all that. Personalized medicine, which involves using the latest developments in technology to treat a patient in a more holistic manner, is quickly sweeping across the United States in both large cities and small towns. As a result, many trends are starting to emerge, with some of the most popular discussed below.
At-Home DNA Tests
The stuff of science-fiction a decade or so ago, at-home DNA tests have become important tools for people who want to know whether or not they may be at risk for certain diseases, such as cancer or ALS. Whereas before the cost of conducting a DNA test was very high and could only be done in a sophisticated lab setting, artificial intelligence and other technology has now made this process easy enough for people to do at home. Costing no more than blood tests conducted in a doctor’s office, at-home DNA tests are generally viewed as reliable.
When people visit their doctor today and find out they need a pacemaker or other type of medical device, it can often be made for them at the office itself. Using high-tech 3-D printers, doctors are now able to create pacemakers, artificial joints, and even artificial limbs that can be highly-customized to a person’s body. Along with having these devices made much faster, patients can also save large amounts of money, since 3-D technology has also helped to greatly reduce pricing on such items.
Direct Primary Care
A different model of patient care, direct primary care is seen as a way to not only make healthcare more affordable to patients, but also give doctors much more time to focus on each patient as an individual. Under this model, doctors do not deal with health insurance companies. Instead, patients can pay monthly, quarterly, or annual fees to the doctor in exchange for services, which often include same-day appointments, clinical and lab services, and personalized care management. Based on the latest data, at least 1,000 healthcare clinics across the U.S. already use this model of care.
In most cases where doctors prescribe medication to their patients, the pills and other types of medication are generally the same across-the-board. However, that is changing in favor of customized pharmaceuticals and prescriptions. Relying more and more on pharmacists who specialize in compounding, doctors are now choosing to make many of their prescriptions one-of-a-kind based on their patient’s DNA and other unique factors. In fact, many pharmacies are now also offering child-sized medications. By doing so, they can use 3-D printing and other methods to create pills with exact dosages for children, eliminating the need to cut pills into smaller sizes in hopes of getting the right dosage.
As the coronavirus pandemic has shown many people, it is possible to do quite a bit online while being at home. This also includes paying a visit to one’s doctor, which is why telemedicine is becoming more popular and is expected to be one personalized medicine trend that sticks around for quite some time. By taking advantage of telemedicine, doctor’s appointments can be easily fit into a person’s daily schedule, making it easier to speak to doctors. As a result, many more people can get the healthcare they need. In addition, it also opens up many parts of the country, especially rural areas where doctors and hospitals are few and far between, to much-needed healthcare services.
As technology evolves and the needs and preferences of patients change, it is expected that these and many more types of personalized medicine trends will become a common part of everyone’s daily life.