With more knowledge than ever before, the field of medicine is on a path toward more personalized care, where the right patient receives the right therapy, at the right time. To help physicians provide this next level of care to patients, clinical decision support (CDS) systems are evolving to incorporate new types of data and technologies.
“Clinical decision support systems have been an important part of care delivery for a long time,” says Robert Freimuth, Ph.D., assistant professor of biomedical informatics at the Mayo Clinic. “I believe they will continue to play a major role in the realization of precision medicine as they continue to evolve to better support new types of data, including genomics, that can be used to better tailor the care that we provide for our patients.”
Tailoring Care with Genomics
Leveraging genomic data is one of the tenets of precision medicine due to the growing body of evidence of its utility for aiding clinical decision making. Because of the rapid growth of of genomic data, CDS tools are needed to sift through all these data, pinpoint the most relevant data, and then deliver the right knowledge to the clinician at the right time. This demand is magnified in cancer care, where drugs are routinely recommended based on a patient’s molecular profile.
“About 20 years ago, treatment protocols for most types of cancer were independent of molecular profile, and if there was a role for tumor testing, only single–gene tests were available and informative. Clinical decision support systems at that time were relatively straightforward,” explained Sheryl Krevsky Elkin, Ph.D., CSO at N-of-One, a molecular decision support company. “Physicians now absolutely rely on accurate interpretation and decision support to help them understand which of those variants are important, which drug the patient might be sensitive or resistant to, [and] what clinical trials could be available.”