Personalized medicine and the power of electronic health records

The medical community has long recognized that inherent features of disease, and response to therapeutics, may often uniquely cluster in individuals, families, and population groups. Yet, for most of the history of practice of medicine, a broad approach to diagnosis and therapy has been adopted. The term personalized medicine was first given prominence in the late 1990s to early 2000s (), coincident with the sequencing of the human genome. Linking genomic and clinical profiles of individual patients held the promise to understand their disease at a deeper level to develop more targeted therapies (). Today, the availability of vast amounts of digital data captured in Electronic Health Records (EHRs), combined with the emergence of genomic data in health systems, is opening new research avenues and opportunities for improving health management. Thus, the field of personalized medicine, and overlapping terms like genomic medicine, precision medicine and precision health, seek to use genomic approaches to tailor therapeutics, prevent disease, and promote health. This perspective covers the intersection between genomic research and EHRs, with an emphasis on emerging paths toward the widespread implementation of personalized medicine.

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