Advances in technology and the scientific understanding of disease processes are presenting new opportunities to improve health through individualized approaches to patient management referred to as personalized medicine. Future health care strategies that deploy genomic technologies and molecular therapies will bring opportunities to prevent, predict, and pre-empt disease processes but will be dependent on knowledge management capabilities for health care providers that are not currently available. A key cornerstone to the potential application of this knowledge will be effective use of electronic health records. In particular, appropriate clinical use of genomic test results and molecularly-targeted therapies present important challenges in patient management that can be effectively addressed using electronic clinical decision support technologies.
Approaches to shaping future health information needs for personalized medicine were undertaken by a work group of the American Health Information Community. A needs assessment for clinical decision support in electronic health record systems to support personalized medical practices was conducted to guide health future development activities. Further, a suggested action plan was developed for government, researchers and research institutions, developers of electronic information tools (including clinical guidelines, and quality measures), and standards development organizations to meet the needs for personalized approaches to medical practice. In this article, we focus these activities on stakeholder organizations as an operational framework to help identify and coordinate needs and opportunities for clinical decision support tools to enable personalized medicine.
This perspective addresses conceptual approaches that can be undertaken to develop and apply clinical decision support in electronic health record systems to achieve personalized medical care. In addition, to represent meaningful benefits to personalized decision-making, a comparison of current and future applications of clinical decision support to enable individualized medical treatment plans is presented. If clinical decision support tools are to impact outcomes in a clear and positive manner, their development and deployment must therefore consider the needs of the providers, including specific practice needs, information workflow, and practice environment.