Future of Personalized Medicine Explored on Capitol Hill ACC President Shares Insights During Congressional Roundtable

Given the ever-increasing advances in science and research related to genetics, it's not surprising that discussions about personalized medicine among care providers and government officials are heating up.

Personalized medicine has evolved over the last few years as these advancements have armed physicians with tools to better know their patients. Rather than waiting to react to symptoms, physicians can now be aware of genetic predispositions through testing and be more predictive in diagnosis and treatment.

Over the next decade, it is very likely that personalized medicine will play a larger role in patient care, including cardiovascular treatments. Cardiovascular organizations and professionals can lead the way in developing guidelines that address personalized medicine. We already have registry tools to track and measure outcomes and inform patients of risks, benefits and/or alternatives. While there is significant potential for widespread clinical implementation of personalized medicine, there is some uncertainty over the value of genetic testing from both therapeutic and financial perspectives.

On July 23, the House Energy and Commerce Committee brought together key players in health care for an open discussion about the advancements in and barriers to personalized medicine and its role in improving patient care moving forward. During the roundtable discussion, ACC President Patrick T. O'Gara, MD, FACC, shared his perspective on how personalized medicine will impact the practice of cardiology in the future.

O'Gara underscored that shared decision making between clinicians and patients is essential to the successful development and application of personalized medicine. “This is an extraordinarily important and very exciting inflection point, but we cannot forget the educational piece and the shared decision making that has to be part and parcel of how we're going to get this out,” he stressed.

Furthermore, O'Gara called for harmonization across regulatory agencies; funding for information and science; and proper reimbursement for tests and counseling of patients.

You can watch an archive of the discussion here. This meeting is one of two the College has been invited to take part in this month. On July 31, health care experts will speak to the House Small Business Committee on the benefits and barriers to increased use of telemedicine. Stay tuned to CardioSource.org and Twitter (@Cardiology) for updates.

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