Michael Kanter, MD, and Patrick Courneya, MD, examine the promise, challenges of precision medicine

Michael Kanter

Michael Kanter, MD

Michael Kanter, MD, executive vice president and chief quality officer, The Permanente Federation, and Patrick Courneya, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals, co-authored a commentary on precision medicine for the World Economic Forum Agenda Blog.

In the article, “How to Get the Most out of Precision Medicine,” the physician leaders discuss how precision medicine holds great promise for the future of medicine and can be a useful tool in prevention and chronic disease management. The Centers for Disease Control has prioritized three conditions for prevention using precision medicine: colon cancer, hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, and familial hypercholesterolemia. As an early adopter of genetic testing and with expertise in population health, Kaiser Permanente is uniquely positioned to apply precision medicine to these conditions.

In addition to genomics, precision medicine includes consideration of other factors that inform health, such as social determinants, exercise, and other lifestyle and environmental factors. Together, the study of all these variables allow physicians to create individualized treatment plans tailored to their patients.

In order to be successful, Dr. Kanter and Dr. Courneya warn, “we must temper the promise of precision medicine with discipline about how we use it.” This means thoughtful evaluation of its applications in a real-world setting, multi-institutional collaboration, and carefully weighing the costs and benefits for both patients and physicians.

Read more about Kaiser Permanente’s approach to precision medicine here.