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Electronic medical records and personalized medicine


If the dream of personalized medicine is to be realized, tremendous amounts of data specific to each individual must be captured, synthesized and presented to clinicians at the time this information is needed to make care decisions for the patient. This can only be accomplished through the use of sophisticated electronic medical record (EMR) systems that are designed to support this function. This article will define two important aspects of a fully functional EMR the ability to: present patients or clinicians with high quality context specific information at the point of care (so-called “just-in time” education) and to combine clinically relevant information from disparate sources in order to guide the clinician to the optimized intervention for a given patient (clinical decision support). Personalized medicine examples are used to illustrate these concepts. As implemented most EMR systems are not being used to assimilate the information needed to provide personalized medicine. A description of necessary enhancements to currently available systems that will be needed to create a “personalized medicine enabled” EMR is provided.

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Correspondence to Marc S. Williams.

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Hoffman, M.A., Williams, M.S. Electronic medical records and personalized medicine. Hum Genet 130, 33–39 (2011).

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