Board Certified Clinical Informaticists & 'Precision Medicine'

In January 2014, a select group of physicians are to receive the first national board certification in Clinical Informatics, including Seth Bokser, MD, medical director for information technology at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Benioff Children's Hospital.  Awarded by the American Board of Preventive Medicine, the certification recognizes the increasingly vital role that the science and practice of informatics plays in health care.

Clinical Informatics was recognized as a new medical subspecialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties in 2011. It is the first new board-certified medical specialty in 20 years. “Health care is an information-management business,” said Bokser. “It has always been, but we have finally reached a new era where we are harnessing the power of information technology (IT) to take in, organize, retrieve, analyze, reason and report on the data for individual patients and populations."

Clinical Informatics is a new specialty focus for University of California San Francisco (UCSF) physicians. At the UCSF Center for Digital Health Innovation (CDHI), the focus is on developing new technologies, apps and systems that will generate enormous new data sets to accelerate the advancement of 'precision medicine'. See UCSF News.

Precision medicine strives to identify patients who are more susceptible to certain diseases, who will respond to treatments differently, whose diseases or conditions may progress on a different course than others in the general population, and then designing specific preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic solutions for these individuals. It allows researchers and health care professionals to direct the most appropriate medicine or medical technology to treat specific patients based on the unique characteristics of that patient.

Precision Medicine & Genomics

According to Dr. Kogelnik of the Open Medicine Institute, medicine is at a crossroads. He predicts that we will transition from a paradigm of generic 'evidence-based' guidelines to a model of medicine driven by genomics and personalized 'precision medicine'.  See article on Mainstreaming ME Research.

The completion of the Human Genome Project ushered in a new era in biomedical research and a path to more personalized medicine. Delivering on those promises has demanded not only access to genomic and phenotypic data on large numbers of individuals, but also tools to enable effective sharing, integration, standardization, and analysis of health related data from diverse sources.

Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and Intel Corp. have teamed up to develop next-generation computing technologies that advance the field of personalized medicine by vastly improving the speed, precision and cost-effectiveness of analyzing a patient's genetic profile. The objective of the team is to drive scientific progress in understanding the genetic origins of illness in patients and ultimately to make precision medicine a more routine model for patient care.  See OHSU, Intel Partner On Genetics.

Precision Medicine & 'Open Source' Solutions

Recently, Curoverse  announced the company has raised $1.5 million to accelerate development of the Arvados free and open source software (FOSS) platform for genomic and biomedical 'big data' and to deliver a range of new products based on the platform.  See Press Release.

Arvados is a computational storage platform designed for the biomedical industry. According to Adam Berrey, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Curoverse, "We are enabling a new generation of bioinformatics computing systems with a complete stack of commercially-supported, community-driven, open-source technologies that apply elastic computing and big-data strategies to the unique requirements of genomic research and precision medicine."

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) believes a new database, called the Researcher Gateway, will help revolutionize precision medicine. Launched in late September, the freely available data set is a collaborative effort between the MMRF and academia, clinicians, industry and patients.  Read Open Access To Genomics May Spur Myeloma Therapy

“This is an extraordinary time to be in biomedicine,” according to Dr. Buetow of the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University (ASU).  "New ecosystem models are emerging that use information technology [IT] to reweave the very fabric of biomedicine, ushering in a new era of personalized, precision medicine."  See ASU News.

Precision Medicine & Next Generation EHR Systems

The U.S. and other countries are investing in multibillion-dollar projects to implement the current generation of electronic health record (EHR) systems.  Next-generation EHR systems will store a wide range of additional individual-specific data – including genomic information - that will be essential as we focus more on precision medicine. Open source software and open standards will play a crucial role in developing these new systems needed to support personalized 'precision medicine'..

For more information about precision medicine, see the feature story recently posted on Open Health News entitled Precision Medicine, Genomics & 'Open Health'


Selected Resources

Baylor Precision Medicine Institute
Duke Center for Personalized & Precision Medicine
Joint Center for Cancer Precision Medicine
Mayo Clinic - Center for Individualized Medicine
Precision Medicine Congress 2014
Precision Medicine & Companion Diagnostics Conference
Precision for Medicine