Improving the Quality of 'Personalized Medicine' Research and Practice

Through an Ethical Lens

George P Browman; Jochen Vollmann; Alice Virani; Jan Schildmann


Personalized Medicine. 2014;11(4):413-423. 

In This Article

The Competitive Healthcare Environment

Linked to the notion of marketing is competition for patients in the for-profit health environment where each patient represents a potential unit of revenue for the service delivery organization (as opposed to insurers and publically financed systems where each patient is a unit of cost). PM has been used by various healthcare organizations in their advertising to distinguish themselves from competitors. The question remains as to whether such an environment is conducive to the necessary sharing of investments, infrastructures and risks implied by a PM system. While this may be possible in the area of preventive services, it is less likely for diagnostic and therapeutic services. Such a system, to be accessible, affordable and able to deliver its promises would in fact need to level the playing field in terms of the distribution of services offered.

In summary, PM may represent a paradigm shift in terms of healthcare administrative, partnership and insurance arrangements, but it is too early to know whether this will translate into more than incremental improvements in health outcomes for most people.