It’s hard to believe that until the early 1900s a career in medicine in the U.S. was considered a trade. Science and research wasn’t a focus in medical schools and professional mentoring was inadequate. Then a report came out, forever changing medical education and research.
Many medical schools closed soon after the release of the Flexner Report. Those that remained were encouraged to adopt stricter standards on entrance requirements and training, to improve the quality of their laboratories, and increase availability of teaching hospitals, among many other changes.
The second tipping point
The courage to lead change following the release of the Flexner Report helped to catalyze a “tipping point” in medical history, according to Leroy Hood, M.D., Ph.D., president and co-founder of the Institute for Systems Biology, and senior vice president and chief science officer, Providence St. Joseph Health.
Now Dr. Hood believes we’ve reached a second tipping point in medicine: This time it’s a revolutionary approach to health care through scientific wellness and P4 medicine. The transformational shift in research and care will evolve the quality of medicine and dramatically reduce the cost of health care. Individuals will have a better chance of slowing or even avoiding certain diseases, and maintaining wellness for a lifetime.
P4 stands for health care that is predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory.
How is it different from contemporary medicine? P4 medicine:
- Is proactive rather than reactive.
- Focuses on the individual rather than populations.
- Focuses on wellness, as well as disease.
- Employs personal, dense, dynamic data clouds to study wellness and disease, and assess individual genetic and environmental influences on health.
- Envisions drug trials that are personalized.
Dr. Hood says P4 is the preventive medicine of the 21st century because of the ability to identify individuals at high risk of certain diseases, such as Alzheimer's. It also has the ability to reverse the progression of the disease before it affects an individual.
These are exciting times in health care. As P4 medicine evolves, expect to see fundamental changes in most sectors of the health care industry over the next decade. This means there will be challenges, but also untold opportunities for health care organizations and practitioners.
If you want to learn more about P4 medicine and the future of health care, visit the Institute for Systems Biology website where you can also learn about scientific wellness, Dr. Hood and the unique collaboration with Providence St. Joseph Health.