Collaboration is vital to achieve personalised healthcare in Oncology and beyond, writes Deirdre Poretti, Personalised Healthcare Ecosystems Lead on the Healthcare Innovation team at Roche Ireland. Deirdre works with local, global, and cross-country teams to design, shape and implement healthcare solutions that make personalised healthcare a reality for patients in Ireland.
Personalised healthcare is a shift from a one-size-fits-all approach in the treatment of diseases, to applying the right health interventions, for the right person, at the right time. This means that treatments are considered based on an individual’s genetic profile and disease variant, rather than just an assessment of symptoms alone.
Adopting a holistic and integrated approach to healthcare delivery is essential: instead of thinking about the components of care separately (prevention, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring), we need to integrate the components into a seamless experience that helps patients achieve optimal outcomes while reducing complexity, potential discordance and costs.
Advances in science, data, analytics, computation, and digital technology can enable us to understand the factors that affect each person’s health with greater clarity and to respond with a personalised approach to both diagnosis and care. The benefits of this shift to a patient-centred approach to healthcare are indisputable, for patients and medical professionals alike. Every patient’s experience of a disease is unique and personalised healthcare ensures that treatments are individually tailored to each patient, rather than a one size fits all approach.
Each person is different – from their genetics, to their lifestyle, to their environment – and understanding these differences is critical to providing personalised healthcare. Healthcare produces a massive amount of yet untapped data capturing these differences with the potential to unlock valuable insights.
For more than 20 years at Roche, we have helped to lay the scientific groundwork for personalised healthcare across our pharma and diagnostic divisions to help doctors determine the right treatment for their patients to target the underlying biology of disease. Building ecosystems and forming innovative partnerships are key to advancements in personalised healthcare, as with shared knowledge, we ensure that we are keeping up to date with the latest, innovative treatment solutions for patients.
At Roche Ireland, we recently announced an innovative personalised healthcare partnership with Cancer Trials Ireland to deliver Ireland’s first nationally accessible educational Molecular Tumour Board (MTB). This MTB is aimed at improving patients’ lives by identifying the most appropriate treatment options for oncology patients, including innovative new cancer trials, both here in Ireland and internationally.
The educational MTB aims to support treatment teams by providing insights through multidisciplinary discussions on the genomic findings, their clinical implications, and potential treatment options.
The partnership between Roche Ireland and Cancer Trials Ireland follows a successful pilot programme, which was rolled out between November 2020 and December 2021. During that time, sixteen institutions participated in discussing more than 30 patient cases, all with complex genomics or novel biomarkers identified via multigene sequencing reports. Of the cases discussed, 80% of presenters confirmed that the MTB discussions helped to confirm, modify or change the treatment plan for at least one of their patients.
With this partnership, we hope to bring the MTB to the next level, to improve outcomes for many oncology patients across Ireland and ensure that a patient-centred approach to healthcare becomes a reality in Ireland.
By joining forces with cross-sector and industry partners, we can achieve the speed, scale and efficiency to accelerate drug discovery and deliver high-quality care targeted to an individual’s unique needs, while minimising waste and inefficiencies.
Universal implementation of personalised healthcare requires regulatory pathways and procedures that support and accept innovative evidence, realise economic value and ensure fair access to the best possible care. Roche is committed to working closely with policymakers and other partners to design, test and implement the policies and infrastructure essential to realising sustainable personalised healthcare ecosystems.
Delivering personalised healthcare also requires sophisticated data collection and the sharing of this data for research purposes. Fully recognising the value of data and data-enabled technology on patient care hinges on patient trust. To earn and maintain patients’ trust, we must uphold the highest standards with regards to data privacy, de-identification and security, and incorporate the patient perspective to design truly patient-centered, user-friendly digital tools that solve for distinct patient needs.
Healthcare is complex, and no one can solve it alone. For patients and society to achieve better health outcomes, all stakeholders need to overcome individual interests and collaborate. We know that only if all stakeholders work together can we move from promise to reality, and we’re committed to doing our part.