Improving patient outcomes by transforming healthcare delivery
TORONTO, April 5, 2023 /CNW/ – According to LabCANDx, a national coalition whose members include Laboratory Medicine professionals and executives, precision medicine (also called personalized or individualized medicine) is an evolving field in which physicians use diagnostic tests to determine and inform optimal medical treatments for individual patients.
Precision Medicine is used to diagnose COVID-19 infections. The COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the core need for, and importance of, robust laboratory infrastructure, not only to protect the health of Canadians, but also to respond quickly to emerging challenges. A major narrative during the pandemic has been the limited access to modern, automated, and decentralized diagnostic tests across the country. Canada needs to continue to invest and build broad-based testing infrastructure and capacity to safeguard the health of Canadians. Precision Medicine will be a foundational part of this modernization and is deserving of wide deployment.
Precision Medicine delivers on the quadruple aim of improving: patient outcomes, general population health, healthcare sustainability and care team well-being. In addition to tests detecting specific pathogens, there are over 132 precision medicine drugs and biomarkers used to drive therapy.
Precision Medicine uses biomarkers to identify an individual’s risk of disease development, estimate prognosis, identify pathogens, and inform treatment plans. Dr Elizabeth McCready President of the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists has said that precision medicine also improves the ability to prevent disease, promote health, and reduce health disparities in populations by (1) applying emerging methods and technologies for measuring disease, pathogens, and susceptibility in populations;(2) facilitating access to therapies that target gene variants, and (3) promoting healthcare sustainability through development of targeted implementation programs to improve health.
LabCANDx is requesting that Canada invests $3.75 billion over a five-year period, to renew the Laboratory Medicine sector. Bolstering this area includes the recruitment, education, and training of Laboratory Medicine personnel, as well as upgrading laboratory infrastructure and technologies that have the potential to fundamentally shift the way healthcare is provided and accessed across the country.
Technologies such as Remote Diagnostics, Remote Monitoring, Point-of-Care Testing, Molecular and Genomic Testing, Companion Diagnostics (i.e. Precision Medicine), and Artificial Intelligence can help transform healthcare delivery. These technologies align with the “2022 Health Technology Trends to Watch” identified by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH). Investments in these areas will help drive system efficiencies, while delivering better patient outcomes and helping to address the massive medical and surgical procedure backlog due to the pandemic.1
Laboratory Medicine offers excellent “value for money”, it represents only 3-5% of the total national healthcare budget, laboratory test results influence and informs up to 70% of patient diagnoses and treatment plans. Currently, there are over 4,200 laboratory tests that are publicly funded. Relative to other disciplines, healthcare systems globally and in Canada have underinvested in laboratory infrastructure despite its high value.
The LabCANDx coalition is focused on working with health system leaders to ensure the right test, for the right patient, at the right time, with appropriate interpretation to inform clinical decisions for better patient outcomes and health care sustainability. One of the objectives of this initiative is to raise awareness of laboratory medicine.
The LabCANDx Coalition consists of more than 35 organizations representing public and private medical laboratories, pathologists, clinicians, technologists, in vitro diagnostics manufacturers, regional health authorities, healthcare associations and colleges, accreditation agencies, as well as patient advocacy groups that have come together to provide a common voice for Laboratory Medicine in Canada. LabCANDx is committed to promoting and advancing Laboratory Medicine’s contribution to effective, appropriate patient-focused health care and to foster improved value-based health care outcomes.