August 7, 2017
Smart medicine is hopefully going to save us from ourselves. So says a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. Eric Topol makes a compelling case that we are on the cusp of a revolution in medicine that will make the archaic way we are doing things seem ridiculous in hindsight. I think that he is right. We have been working with cutting edge laboratories to better understand a child's disease risk. This lab analysis provides a window into the child's physiology that was previously a mystery.
To know in advance about a risk or find new data about a current disease issue allows for novel treatment paradigms to come to light. More importantly for me is that it gives me data points that stimulate a conversation around lifestyle choices that can reduce or eliminate many risks all together.
When we can get real time data about heart rate and variability, blood sugar, blood pressure and many other indices of health, we will be able to act more rapidly to stave off a bad outcome. We are already seeing some of this tech in the world of diabetes management. Continuous blood sugar monitoring is rapidly changing a person's understanding of what food does to their system in regards to their individual blood glucose changes. When you see your blood sugar spike on your iphone app, it will give you pause the next time you load up on a doughnut and juice.
Recently, our practice began working with a company called Pharmazam that is providing a genetic based analysis of a patient's detoxification mechanisms and therefore their ability to safely handle a drug or supplement that is being prescribed. This is revolutionary technology. Why take a chance that you will have a bad reaction/outcome with a drug that is supposed to help heal you. If reading your genome can give you a glimpse of drug risk allowing you to avoid potential bad outcomes, everyone wins.
Think about the cost savings when a patient avoids a significant adverse reaction or has a better treatment response thus mitigating the need for multiple prescriptions over time. Think about the time spent well and not battling a side effect where you would have missed school or work. Think about the empowerment of a priori knowledge making decisions more targeted and safer. As a society, we are suffering under the insane costs of healthcare and poor human lifestyle choices making the care necessary. We NEED to CHANGE how we do things. While I am aggressively trying to avoid death for myself, my family and my patient's through lifestyle changes over time, I am eagerly jumping on board when a technology appears to enhance the ability to do so. Just like the real time glucose monitoring and other available tech enhancements, genomic analysis is the future that is here now.
The Pharmazam tech will enhance medical outcomes at a reasonable cost that I believe will pay for itself over your lifetime a hundred times over.
It is highly unlikely that our leaders in government will fix this healthcare mess. It is up to each one of us to take care of ourselves and lead by example everyday for our children. Take advantage of tech where it is possible to benefit your family.