Top Menu

Precision Medicine and Point of Care: Improving Efficiency in Health Practice

During his January 2015 State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama introduced the Precision Medicine Initiative as an effort that “will bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes – and give all of us access to the personalized information we need to keep ourselves and our families healthier.” The question is how we will achieve this goal. The answer is through Point of Care (POC) ranging from POC testing to POC prescribing. Relying on prompt diffusion of innovation with this initiative will create maximum results and minimum waste in practicing health care.

Precision Medicine

DiPersio-Sept2015artwork1The National Research Council describes Precision Medicine (PM) as adapting medical treatment to the specific characteristics of each patient. It arranges individuals into subpopulations that differ in their likelihood to contract any particular disease. PM is the advanced and detailed understanding of the root causes of a disease and how best to respond with proper treatment taking into consideration genetic changes and ultimate cures.

POC Testing

The innovation of portable diagnostic and monitoring devices for POC testing depends on moving towards predictive, personalized, and preventive medicine while simultaneously moving forward with remedy medicine for existing diseases. POC testing allows pharmaceutical companies to develop more effective drugs geared to personalized needs. This synergy is influenced by the following factors:

  • Speed. Not only does testing produce instantaneous results, it also eliminates the need for laboratory bound samples requiring a wait time.
  • Portability. The size, portability, and battery power of POC testing devices allows them to be used in different environments including within the community or in a large hospital.
  • Convenience. Clinicians spend less time preparing paperwork for laboratory testing.
  • Reduced workload. Non-laboratory staff conducts testing instead of overworked trained clinicians whose time can be leveraged to achieve more medical advancements.
  • Connectivity. Errors are reduced by using USB and wireless connections not mandating manual transcription while central database input allows for data mining and research.
  • Sample quality. Time does not interfere with quality due to the lack of transport to the central laboratory.
  • Analytic viability. Integrity is maintained with analysis performed within a short time of sample being withdrawn.

POC Prescribing

DiPersio-Sept2015artwork2Preventive and therapeutic interventions, such as physicians dispensing prescription medications during medical visits, benefit patients without high cost or side effects. Health care professionals have the ability to prescribe the right drug for the right patient at the right time at the right place. Patient savings are realized in terms of time, energy, convenience, and money. Also, better health outcomes are achieved with patient adherence because the early stage obstacle of compliance is removed – the patient taking the time to process the prescription through mail order or at a pharmacy. Furthermore, assigning clinicians the power of POC prescribing confronts the dilemma of health disparities.

Diffusion of Innovation: Dynamics and Strategies for Success

Comprehending how to improve the pace of disseminating the concepts of this new Precision Medicine Initiative is of paramount importance to its success. Rapid diffusion of innovation is accomplished through the following guidelines and action plans.

  1. DiPersio-Sept2015artwork3Relative advantage. Gather an understanding of the ROI and cost mindset of the patient, medical staff, and decision makers.
  2. Trial ability. Engage ways to divide the process for tangible benefits.
  3. Observability. Choose viral marketing to uncover the invisible.
  4. Communication channels. Select mass media to inform and interpersonal methods to persuade while identifying the connectors and the correct target audience.
  5. Homophilous groups. Look for other homophilous groups outside of physicians, nurses, health strategic planners, and patient advocacy groups.
  6. Pace of innovation/reinvention. Situate listening standards for early warning about issues and monitor practices for potentially dangerous mishaps.
  7. Norms, roles, and social networks. Concentrate on target groups and expose chances to leverage existing social networks or create new ones.
  8. Opinion leaders. Identify opinion leaders and look for principals who have a broad range of information and a reputation for being most knowledgeable and respected.
  9. Compatibility. Become aligned with current behavior and values and mimic everyday universal functions.
  10. Infrastructure. Grasp current and future regulatory constraints.

In conclusion, the way to achieve the goal of the Precision Medicine Initiative recently launched by President Obama is utilizing two Point of Care methods which change the way medicine is practiced and health care is delivered. POC testing and POC prescribing promotes the health care climate shift toward prevention, early diagnosis, management of multiple chronic conditions, and eventual cure of existing diseases while increasing patient health engagement by encouraging patients to take a more active role in their health. Health care is more personalized through customization of interventions to individual patients based on the way information is processed. Specific transmittal dynamics accomplish the diffusion of innovation without delay and catapult the overall efficiency of medical practice.



Berry, P. “Drug Dispensing at the Point of Care Benefits Patients.” Northwind Pharmaceuticals. (2015)
Cain, M. and Mittman, R. “Diffusion of Innovation in Health Care.” Institute for the Future and California HealthCare Foundation. (2002)
Moreno, C. “What Precision Medicine Is and How It Might Save Your Life Someday.” Reuters. (2015)
“Point of Care Diagnostic Testing.” National Institutes of Health. (2013)
Wickham, M., McComas, D. and Wickham, C. “Point of Care in Clinical Trials.” PharmaPhorum. (2010)

Linda J. DiPersio
Freelance Professional Writer
Linda J. DiPersio, MSM, MSHC, is a freelance professional writer and narrator/producer of an oral history video series for the Public Health Museum (estimated completion date June 2016). She earned a Master’s in Health Communication from Boston University and a Master’s in Management from Lesley University. Linda DiPersio has been published in the Journal of Communication in Healthcare. She is a member of the American Public Health Association and Massachusetts Public Health Association.
No comments yet.

Leave a Reply