Precision prevention has the potential to improve health outcomes, more effectively use healthcare resources, and create high-value jobs and innovations with global application.
In December 2020, The Academy of Medical Sciences held a FORUM workshop to explore some of the challenges preventing the promise of precision prevention being realised.
Precision prevention is the identification of disease risk factors to target preventive measures to those at highest risk and tailor them to their specific needs. New precision risk prediction technologies, such as genomic profiling and the analysis of routinely collected health data, can identify factors associated with poor health outcomes and distinguish high-risk individuals and groups.
Today [Friday 28 May 2021] we have published a report from the workshop ‘Precision prevention for modifiable health risks: Steps to achieving personalised preventive healthcare’, summarising the opportunities and challenges for precision prevention.
Workshop participants identified two key bottlenecks:
- Cost-effectiveness analyses: Impacts on health outcomes of precision risk prediction technologies are likely to take several years to materialise. They will also be heavily dependent on the subsequent effective implementation of preventive interventions. It is therefore difficult to generate the necessary evidence on the impact of health outcome and health care costs.
- Implementation barriers: Workshop participants identified several barriers to implementation of new precision risk prediction technologies within the NHS. These include a lack of dialogue between developers and clinicians resulting in product design that does not take into account practical constraints, and low levels of digital maturity in the NHS, including fragmented and outdated IT systems.
A number of ways in which these challenges could be addressed were identified:
- Bringing clinicians, developers and patients together early in technology development
- Risk sharing and innovative financial models
- Developing fit-for-purpose assessment processes for precision risk prediction technologies
- Creating an environment to accelerate innovation in precision prevention
The meeting concluded that the nationwide coverage of the NHS, the UK’s scientific strengths and the potential to create large, research-ready data sets make the UK an ideal country to lead developments in precision prevention. Realising its potential will require a clear strategic vision that places precision prevention at the heart of the future health system, and a partnership between the private and public sectors to create an environment that nurtures innovation.
This meeting was convened as part of the Academy’s FORUM programme, which was established in 2003 to recognise the role of industry in medical research and to catalyse connections across industry, academia and the NHS.
If you would like information on the benefits of becoming a FORUM member, please contact FORUM@acmedsci.ac.uk.