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Individualized Healthcare

Medicine and healthcare have always been a paternalistic relationship between the doctor and the patient over the past decades. Such that patients are treated like products and specialists dish out instructions and treatment without considering the patient’s opinion. This however is being replaced in this half of the 20th century by a shared decision making between doctors and patients. Modern medicine is now switching to a more Individualized Healthcare system where patients are more proactive.

What is Individualized Healthcare?

Individualized healthcare is a system where the decision making concerning a patient’s health and treatment is shared between the patient and the doctor. It is a system that is meant to help enhance the medical care given or provided to an individual, at the patient’s preferred option or mechanism for receiving that care.

In an individualized healthcare system, the doctor or General practitioner can make use of available patient data to make a specific treatment plan according to the patient’s preference. They can follow up on the progress of the treatment using specific tools like the internet, social media, or messaging, and having a one on one interaction with the patient.

This will help to improve the effectiveness of the treatment and also increase the comfort of the patient, which is the reason why most countries are pursuing this route.

Achieving individualized healthcare, however, may take a little more work than expected and will require governments implementing data policies that will give corporations like Apple or Google access to your data which they could then hand to healthcare practitioners to help in treatments of a certain individual all this with the permission of the individual of course. It will require collaborations with schools and institutions. They would need to give the professional physicians present in the institution the permission to write individualized healthcare plans for students and help them be treated at their comfort and in a way that would not academic progress.

Individualized healthcare’s consideration is greatly propelled by the increase in the dominance of chronic illnesses. The previous method of treatment has proved to not be as effective as an individualized healthcare system that has the doctor and the patient working together to solve the problem. This also helps to create a good and genuine doctor-patient relationship. Doctors are now able to teach patients how to take care of themselves and even monitor their health with homemade equipment, thanks to technological advancements.

This is just one of the differences and advantages of the modern and individualized system of healthcare as compared to the traditional system.

Below is a table of the difference between the traditional style of healthcare and the individualized method or modern method of healthcare.

Traditional Healthcare

Individualized Healthcare

The point of care is aimed at the clinic or lab

The point of care is the patient

It is based on the population

It is based on the individual

There is no doctor-patient relationship

There is an understanding relationship between the doctor and the patient.

Patient data are owned by the institution

Data is owned and shared by the patient

Physicians are authority

Physicians are guides

The advantages and possibilities of practicing an individualized health care system are limitless.

Some of the tools that can be used for the accurate individualization of modern healthcare include:

  1. Data: The proper use of data can be very helpful in the individualization of data, by making use of the right support tools and collaboration with the patient.
  2. Pharmacogenomics: Pharmacogenomics is an important example of the field of precision medicine, which aims to tailor medical treatment to each person or a group of people. Pharmacogenomics looks at how your DNA affects the way you respond to drugs. In some cases, your DNA can affect whether you have a bad reaction to a drug or whether a drug helps you or has no effect. Pharmacogenomics can improve your health by helping you know ahead of time whether a drug is likely to benefit you and be safe for you to take. Knowing this information can help your doctor find the medicine that will work best for you. This is something that would be useful in the individualization of healthcare.
  3. Apps: These apps include Apple Watches and smartphones. They can be used by patients to monitor their health from home. They could easily check out their walking/running distance, body measurements, cycle tracking (menstrual cycle), and heart (blood pressure).

 In Conclusion

Modern healthcare is becoming individualized gradually in some countries, hopefully, many other countries will follow in the same steps and improve healthcare across the globe.

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