The not-so-precise side of precision medicine

The not-so-precise side of precision medicine

The launch of the Precision Medicine Initiative in 2015, along with this year’s Cancer Moonshot, have touted the promise of genomic data for population health and more personalized diagnosis. As a result, more consumers are seeking genetic testing and more researchers are contributing to these initiatives.

But the healthcare industry isn’t necessarily prepared for this shift.

The popularity of genetic testing doesn’t come without risks, according to Mayo Clinic’s recent report, The Promise and Peril of Precision Medicine.

“Current genetics understanding and interpretation skills of the practicing physician in general ranks far below his or her ability to interpret other tests, such as an ECG,” the authors said. “Consumers need to be instructed to not take the results at face value.”

Mayo’s report analyzed the story of a family whose young son died suddenly. In response, the family underwent genetic testing and 20 family members were told they had a rare condition – including the couple’s other son who had a heart defibrillator implanted.

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