Individualized medicine: from niche position to macro innovation
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- Fleßa, S. & Marschall, P. Pharmacoeconomics-Ger-Res-Articles (2012) 10: 53. doi:10.1007/BF03320778
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Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of chronic degenerative diseases require the consideration of multiple factors and non-linear stochastic relations between these factors and their potential health impacts. This calls for a strong emphasis on the genetic, metabolic, behavioral and environmental characteristics of the individual. Thus, a one-fits-all medicine seems to be inappropriate for an aging society with a high burden of chronic degenerative diseases. ‘Individualized Medicine’ (IM) is a concept that was developed to respond to this new epidemiological paradigm. It has the potential to change the relationship between doctors and patients, to alter the rules, institutions and regulations of the health care sector and even to influence societal values. However, there are major barriers preventing the key stakeholders from adopting this new approach to medicine. This paper analyses these barriers and whether IM is due to become a macro innovation. It concludes that IM is still in an early stage of the development and adoption process and that it must mature in a niche before it can become the new standard solution for the health-care system.