Personalized Medicine: Innovation, Implications, and Access

Healthcare technology and innovation continue to make exponential strides, with the potential for care to become increasingly more customized to individual patients. This panel discussed recent developments and future trends in the field, as well as the impacts on caregiving, patients, and families. 



Tom Still
Wisconsin Technology Council, President


Dale Kooyenga
Wisconsin State Legislature, Senator

Stephen Meyn
Center for Human Genomics and Precision Medicine UW–Madison, Director

Lauren Schmitz
La Follette School of Public Affairs, Assistant Professor

Kristine Seymour
Michael Best Strategies, Partner

Top Takeaways from Panelists:

  • Precision genomic medicine uses DNA sequencing to identify harmful variants in the genome that can cause clinical disease. This technique can diagnose illnesses, predict what future disease diagnoses, determine if a child might have a genetic disorder, and help design specific treatments for individuals.
  • Data mining is another relevant field in personalized medicine. It collects, integrates, and analyzes multiple sources of data on an individual to develop insights about health and disease.
  • The vast majority of data used in precision medicine comes from individuals with European ancestry. The combination of Eurocentric bias and unequitable access to cutting-edge therapies could exacerbate health disparities and create new points of vulnerability to bias and discrimination.
  • Many insurance companies describe themselves as data companies, and some genetic companies own individuals’ genetic information. These situations raise privacy concerns that require further federal regulation about how people’s information is used.
  • Data access is one of the main challenges to developing personalized medicine more quickly. Many data collections exist, and many of them are not shared, making the progress slower. Federal regulation could improve researchers’ access to data collections.