Personalized Medicine: Can The Healthcare Industry Scale The Barriers To Entry … and Will It Pay Off?

Rakesh Shetty

The rise of digitization in every aspect of medicine – from appointment-setting and diagnosis to prescriptions and billing – has increased hopes that personalized medicine may be able to transform the healthcare industry. In a past blog (Innovation in Healthcare: Who Cares?), I explored how healthcare providers, employers, and health insurers are reimagining business models and leveraging actionable insights for better care.

However, there are still many questions about personalized medicine:

  • Can it really lead to lower costs for patients, providers, and insurers?
  • Can it truly deliver on the promise of better outcomes for more people?
  • Will healthcare organizations be able to scale the barriers to entry?

To get some insight into these questions, we recently conducted a survey with attendees at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Conference and Exhibition. Let’s take a closer look at how they view current trends in personalized medicine and the future adoption of personalized medicine models.

How personalized medicine is different

Personalized medicine is a concept that is based on patient outcomes, rather than cost containment.

While taking an individualistic approach may initially appear to be cost prohibitive, consider that the price of nearly every aspect of healthcare has continued to rise for the last 10 years. Research by Aon shows that the average amount that employees must contribute to their healthcare has increased more than 134% in the last 10 years.

With outcome-based approaches, insurers compensate healthcare providers for better results rather than just for the cost of services. This incents medical professionals to empower patients to take more responsibility for their health.

Many insurers have high hopes for this model. Our survey results showed that 78% of healthcare companies believe that outcome-based medicine has already had a positive impact on their organization, and 77% believe it has had a significant impact on patient outcomes.

Technology as enabler for personalized medicine

Obviously, technology must be tightly interwoven into personalized medicine systems. However, healthcare companies report that there are significant obstacles at the moment.

Privacy and security was cited as a major challenge by 75% of our survey respondents, and the cost of technology was cited as a major challenge by 68%.

According to our survey, 87% of healthcare companies recognize that the capture, storage, and analytics of Big Data (structured, unstructured, and real-time) are necessary to develop and sustain personalized medicine practices. Collaborative tools that allow data sharing across departments and organizations was noted as a priority for 81% of companies.

At SAP, we’re excited about the future of personalized medicine. With the recent launch of our personalized medicine solutions, built on the SAP HANA platform, we hope that we can fulfill our vision and purpose to improve people’s lives by helping deliver better outcomes to patients.

Find out how SAP is fighting disease worldwide and creating personalized medicine solutions for cancer treatment, diabetes care, and infectious disease containment.


Rakesh Shetty

About Rakesh Shetty

Rakesh Shetty is the Head of Marketing for Strategic Industries at SAP responsible for financial services, retail, public services and telecommunications sectors. Mr. Shetty has worked in the software industry for over 18 years in a variety of roles delivering enterprise software solutions with assignments in Asia, Europe and the United States.