Precision medicine targets disease at a genetic level for groups of patients with specific attributes.  Sharing patient data at the point of care introduces new opportunities and new HIPAA Privacy and Security challenges.  The President’s 2016 budget proposes federal funds to update interoperability standards to include genetic data with the intent of sharing it while acknowledging HIPAA Privacy and Security rules.

HIPAA Compliant Precision Medicine

President Obama requested a new HIPAA compliant method to share new types of data about patients to improve healthcare outcomes. Most medical treatments are designed for the “average patient.” The old approach of “one-size-fits-all” approach, treatments work for some patients but not others. Precision Medicine, is a new approach that considers our individual differences at a genetic level, and is intended to consider other factors such as life style and environment. It gives medical professionals the resources they need to target the specific treatments of the illnesses we encounter, further develops our scientific and medical research, and keeps our families healthier.

Advances in Precision Medicine have led to new discoveries and new treatments designed for specific patients with specific genetic attributes, or genetic profiles of tumors. Precision medicine may prove effective to treat diseases such as cancer. Patients with breast, lung, and colorectal cancers, as well as melanomas and leukemias, for instance, usually undergo molecular testing as part of patient care, enabling physicians to select treatments that improve chances of survival and reduce exposure to adverse effects.

The Associate Director for Science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy Jo Handelsman explains Precision Medicine Initiative

Investments to Launch the Precision Medicine Initiative:

Complementing investments to broadly support research, development, and innovation, the President’s 2016 Budget will provide a $215 million investment for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), together with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to support this effort, including:

  • $130 million to NIH for development of a voluntary national research cohort of a million or more volunteers to propel our understanding of health and disease and set the foundation for a new way of doing research through engaged participants and open, responsible data sharing.
  • $70 million to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of NIH, to scale up efforts to identify genomic drivers in cancer and apply that knowledge in the development of more effective approaches to cancer treatment.
  • $10 million to FDA to acquire additional expertise and advance the development of high quality, curated databases to support the regulatory structure needed to advance innovation in precision medicine and protect public health.
  • $5 million to ONC to support the development of interoperability standards and requirements that address privacy and enable secure exchange of data across systems.
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