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Survey: 26 Percent of Hospitals Have Adopted Precision Medicine

June 7, 2017
by Heather Landi
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Nearly 70 percent of organizations with plans to conduct precision medicine intend to do so within the next 12 to 24 months, according to a recent HIMSS Analytics report.

The HIMSS Analytics report is a market snapshot of how U.S. healthcare organizations currently approach and plan to approach precision medicine from an IT perspective. The study findings indicate that while the interest level and potential expectations of precision medicine are extremely high, developing programs and conducting precision medicine at the point of care requires expertise, funds, and IT sophistication that many organizations currently do not have. That said, the study highlights that many organizations with established programs are looking to expand their offerings into different clinical areas while improving their IT approach with current in-house solutions and dedicated precision medicine platforms.

For the study, HIMSS Analytics surveyed 100 medical and laboratory directors and 5,460 U.S. hospitals about their adoption of precision medicine initiatives. The study found that adoption has gone relatively unchanged from 28.5 percent in 2016 to 26 percent in 2017. The percentage of respondents answering “unsure” rose from 37.2 percent to 43 percent this year.

“There continues to be limited adoption across the U.S. hospital market as organizations may not have the necessary funds, technology, or clinical expertise on hand to initiate programs and provide precision medicine at the point of care. However, momentum continues to increase around the level of interest in developing this emerging clinical approach and while organizations currently conducting precision medicine expand their current approach across more clinical areas,” the study authors wrote.

Perhaps unsurprising, larger, research-based organizations such as academic medical centers and organizations with more than 500 beds are leading efforts to conduct precision medicine. All of the academic medical centers participating in the survey are conducting precision medicine as well as 33 percent of integrated delivery networks (IDNs). In addition, 45 percent of hospitals with more than 500 beds and 26 percent of hospitals with 251 to 500 beds also are conducting precision medicine. On an interesting note, 22 percent of hospitals with 50 or fewer beds also reported adoption of precision medicine.

Looking at which areas of medicine organizations are focusing their precision medicine initiatives on, and the study reveals that most organizations conducting precision medicine continue to focus on oncology as their primary area due to the Precision Medicine Initiative and a large amount of the provided funds going to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for the development of cancer treatments.

However, the study findings indicate that gains have been made in other clinical areas such as cardiology, which showed significant increase from roughly 28 percent in 2016 to 50 percent in 2017. Other clinical areas in which organizations are focusing their precision medicine efforts include nephrology (29 percent) and endocrinology (20 percent).

What’s more, the study findings indicate that from an IT perspective, organizations continue to primarily use a mix of solutions to meet their precision medicine needs. In 2016, about 18 percent of respondents with precision medicine initiatives in place used a combination of a dedicated precision medicine solution in conjunction with solutions already established in-house compared to 36 percent in the most recent study.

Twenty-four percent of respondents reported using current in-house solutions only and 16 percent reported using a dedicated precision medicine platform only. The level of uncertainty around precision medicine and IT approach has dropped from just over 46 percent of respondents in 2016 to 16 percent in 2017.





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