HHS Unveils Plan for High-Tech Personalized Care

The first Health and Human Services department-wide report on the goal of personalized health care came out Sept. 19, establishing the HHS long-range plan to improve treatments and use genetic information and health information technology to best advantage. Secretary Mike Leavitt and said the "Personalized Health Care: Opportunities, Pathways, Resources" report shows that work in biomedical science, health IT, and health care delivery should be aligned to produce "the right treatment at the right time" for each patient.

"Health care professionals have always aimed at making medical care as individualized as possible. But in truth, our ability to deliver the right care for each person has been limited," Leavitt wrote in a foreword to the report, which says growing knowledge of the human genome will increase the capacity to predict, detect, preempt, and treat diseases. It says health IT can make patients' information securely accessible and yet confidential, as well as support high-quality care.

The report contains the first inventory of some 50 related programs under way across the units that comprise HHS, including CDC, FDA, the National Cancer Institute, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. "Personalized health care means knowing what works, knowing why it works, knowing who it works for, and applying that knowledge for patients," Leavitt wrote. "These goals may sound elementary, but a generation of effort lies ahead of us in achieving them."

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