Discern Releases Issue Brief on Improving Quality Measurement for Personalized Medicine

January 2019

Personalized medicine is a highly promising and rapidly evolving field in which a patient’s individual characteristics—their genetics, medical status, and care preferences—drive which medical therapies are used. In recent years, there have been significant advances in genetic testing and the development of novel therapies targeted to patients with certain genetic profiles. This is especially true in oncology, where more than 7 in 10 drugs in development are personalized medicines.

However, personalized medicine does not fit neatly within the current approaches to quality measurement and value-based payment. Quality measures typically assess whether a standard of care has been met for a broad patient population, while personalized medicine focuses on approaches to care that are tailored to individuals and groups of similar patients. When measures focus on narrow populations, they may become less reliable. In addition, due to frequent scientific advances, measures of personalized medicine have the potential to quickly become out-of-date. Also, quality measures rarely account for patient preference, which is a fundamental component of personalized medicine.

To better understand these issues and identify potential improvements in measuring the quality of personalized medicine, Discern critically assessed existing measures in oncology and interviewed patient advocacy groups, practicing oncologists, academic researchers, and other stakeholders. This work was funded by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Our recommendations include developing measures for genetic testing that are not specific to individual tests and cancers; incorporating allowances for patient preferences in all measures of testing and treatment; and increasing focus on patient-centered outcomes, such as goal concordance, patient experience, and quality of life. In addition, other quality-related tools – such as improvement activities, accreditation and certification programs, care pathways, and clinical decision support systems –  should align with these measures and the goals of personalized medicine.

The full issue brief is available here: https://discernhealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Quality-Measurement-of-Personalized-Medicine-Issue-Brief.pdf

For more information please contact Russ Montgomery at rmontgomery@discernhealth.com.

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