The Precision Medicine Connective is on a quest to help improve the diagnostic testing part of the patient journey. An important way to do this is by empowering patients to ask to be tested in ways that are relevant to them.
There are many problems that need addressing to improve diagnostic testing. The issues range from sample collection and management to keeping up with the latest testing technologies in professional communities. The consequence of these issues is that poor and insufficient testing is being received by some patients. Diagnostic testing going wrong, is why we must ask in order to receive!
The incentives for healthcare providers and laboratories to test properly and harmoniously throughout are too often either not there or are not good enough; this ultimately means that testing practices are inconsistent. The inconsistent practices have become bad news for patients; millions of patients worldwide do not get tested and a great number of those that are tested are not always properly tested.
Poor incentives for diagnostics have resulted in practices with no universal standards for some testing, and no one to take ownership and responsibility to make sure testing is consistent and accurate.
If every single patient asks to get tested for biomarkers, problems in diagnostic testing will have to be addressed. After all, who can ignore around twenty-five million voices?
When we talk about cancer care, we can’t sidestep the need to discuss biomarker testing. Although there is not a drug for every single biomarker, there are some very important ones in different types of cancer and other general medical conditions, for which biomarker testing is crucial to receive targeted therapies. Targeted therapies are medicines specific to diseases with very specific characteristics. These new medicines have produced vastly improved outcomes for patients, not seen for a long time.
As citizens and patients, we need to start realizing of the crucial role of diagnostic testing and precision medicine approaches for better treatment decisions, that ultimately result in better outcomes and better quality of life for many patients. We need to understand our condition beyond a primary diagnosis.
There are many differences across regions of the world on how healthcare is delivered/provided. The details and information about all methodologies/technologies of diagnostics testing also varies considerably across conditions, however, in order to receive, we must ask!
The diagnostic testing journey is not only complicated from the science and logistics side, it is also an overwhelming experience for people facing the prospect of serious conditions. By asking your healthcare provider to walk you through your diagnostic journey, it might help increase the chances of making better treatment decisions and gaining knowledge/access to better treatments. It might also help you to understand your choices for your own condition’s genetic makeup. This is called Precision Medicine, often also referred to as Personalized Medicine. Make sure you don’t miss out on receiving the best care available for you!
Here are some questions to ask your physician and healthcare provider that might help you:
First consultation questions*:
*If there is reluctance to address these questions, please consider a second opinion.
Subsequent consultation questions: