Individualized Care

Researchers and medical providers have long known that different human bodies react differently to drugs and treatments. In the past few decades, a growing body of research has begun unraveling why people react differently, and how medical treatments can be tailored to each patient’s individual needs. Key questions around individualized care include: how do we advance the science of uncovering biomarkers, how do we translate the science into practical delivery of individualized care, and how does individualized care affect providers, payers and patients? As the rate of scientific discovery accelerates, these questions will become more pressing.

In the early 2000s, the National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) commissioned a body of research to examine the key issues around individualized care to advance this discussion. More recently, NPC has examined the issue through the lens of comparative effectiveness research (CER).

The goal of CER is to “assess the benefits and harms of preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic, palliative, or health delivery system interventions to inform decision making, highlighting comparisons and outcomes that matter to people.” At its most basic definition, CER involves comparing one treatment option against another treatment option. Examples include surgery vs. watchful waiting; using a device vs. exercising; or drug vs. drug--there are any number of treatments that can be compared.

While this information is helpful for the “average” patient or population, it might not be relevant for every patient. Each person is unique thanks to a multitude of factors, such as racial and ethnic backgrounds, age, genetics, chronic conditions, disease severity, gender, environment, and even personal preferences when it comes to health treatments. These and other factors make patients different and affect how they may respond to a certain treatment. For these reasons, while the “average patient” may respond best to a particular treatment, some patients may experience little to no benefit from it, so other treatment options may be best for them. These differences in how patients respond to treatments are known as “heterogeneity,” or “individual treatment effects.”

Heterogeneity matters because if a medical professional is providing a patient care based on how the “average” person fared on that treatment, then that patient might not be getting the most ideal treatment. It also matters because most insurance companies design their policies to meet the needs of the majority of people, so those who may respond differently may have a more difficult time getting other treatment options covered. Many groups that represent patients are concerned that CER could be used to block or restrict access to treatments that help some, but not “average,” people.

Blog Post

Are We Getting the Right Data to Make Individualized Health Decisions? Maybe.

Personalized medicine—an evolving field in which physicians use diagnostic tests to determine which medical treatments will work best for each...
Blog Post

ASCO’s Clinical Pathways Recommendations and Remaining Challenges

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today released its “policy statement on clinical pathways in oncology,” which acknowledges the...
Blog Post

#TBT: “Talk About Your Medicines” Month & A Question Checklist for Patients

As part of our Throwback Thursday blog series, we’re taking a look at a topic that’s currently in the news and tagging it with previous research...
Blog Post

How Can We Assess the Value of a Companion Diagnostic Test?

When President Obama pledged $215 million for a Precision Medicine Initiative during his State of the Union address earlier this year, he...
Press Release

Michael Ciarametaro Joins National Pharmaceutical Council as Director of Research

Washington, DC (July 31, 2014)—The National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) today announced that Michael Ciarametaro has joined the health policy...
Press Release

NPC Study Outlines When & How Health Decision-Makers Should Consider Individual Patient Differences

Washington, DC (July 29, 2014)—New research led by the National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) can assist health care stakeholders to understand when...
Press Release

NPC, UMD Study: Factors That Cause Different Treatment Responses Are Not Well Understood or Studied

Washington, DC, November 4, 2013—Although researchers and health care providers widely recognize that individuals with stage IV prostate cancer react...
Press Release

National Pharmaceutical Council Comments on PCORI Approval of Research Methodology Standards

Washington, DC (November 19, 2012)—The National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) today commented on the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute’s (...
Commentary and Testimony Page

Chain Drug Review – Commentary: “Health Care Outlook for 2015”

This commentary was originally published in the January 5, 2015 issue of Chain Drug Review.By: Dan Leonard, President, National Pharmaceutical...
Commentary and Testimony Page

NPC Comments on CMS' Proposed Changes to Protected Classes

March 7, 2014Marilyn B. TavennerAdministratorCenters for Medicare & Medicaid ServicesU.S. Department of Health and Human Services200 Independence...
Commentary and Testimony Page

The Risks of Standardized Health Care

Think about the last time you visited a medical office. Even at a specialist’s office, chances are that each person waiting for his or her name to be...
Commentary and Testimony Page

Questions Abound on the Adoption of Evidence

Medical decision making should rely on evidence (when available) to ensure that treatments are appropriate and effective for patients. Given the...
YouTube Videos

Understanding Individual Patients' Health Care Needs

Paul Martino, SVP of Clinical Strategy and Innovation at WellPoint, Inc., explains that it's important for payers and other health care stakeholders...
YouTube Videos

Taking Patient Variations Into Account

Dr. Lisa Egbuonu-Davis, founder of ROI Squared, explains that data is generally designed toward looking at the mean differences instead of the...
YouTube Videos

Payer Views of Individualized Health Care

Dr. Daniel Malone, professor at the University of Arizona School of Pharmacy, explains how payers view the issue of individualized therapy. He says...
YouTube Videos

Dr. Puckrein on the Issue of Individual Patient Differences

Dr. Gary Puckrein, founder and president of the National Minority Quality Forum, says that there is tremendous variability in how different patients...
Blog Post

Are We Getting the Right Data to Make Individualized Health Decisions? Maybe.

Personalized medicine—an evolving field in which physicians use diagnostic tests to determine which medical treatments will work best for each...
Blog Post

ASCO’s Clinical Pathways Recommendations and Remaining Challenges

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today released its “policy statement on clinical pathways in oncology,” which acknowledges the...
Blog Post

#TBT: “Talk About Your Medicines” Month & A Question Checklist for Patients

As part of our Throwback Thursday blog series, we’re taking a look at a topic that’s currently in the news and tagging it with previous research...
Blog Post

How Can We Assess the Value of a Companion Diagnostic Test?

When President Obama pledged $215 million for a Precision Medicine Initiative during his State of the Union address earlier this year, he...
  •  
  • 1 of 6
  • >