June 4th, 2012
Posted by Patti Doherty, R.N.
The concept of the citizen scientist is new to healthcare, since medicine has historically been physician-driven. But the citizen scientist has long been an important part of many other areas of science. With access to the Internet and social networking, the contributions of citizen scientists (and the body of knowledge they both access and create) are more profound than ever. In healthcare, the capability for genome testing takes this citizenship to a new level, opening the gates to truly personal medicine.
At the same time, as medicine moves away from reaction to prevention, we are seeing more attention paid to mitigating disease, improving quality of care, and reducing costs. Genetic testing can provide an early indication of disease that, in turn, provides an opportunity for early intervention or prevention, and helps target the right treatment.
Thus armed with information and the power of the genome, “citizen patients” can then turn healthcare into a less passive and more participatory enterprise, says Jill Hagenkord, Chief Medical Officer of Complete Genomics. These citizens may also usher in new philanthropic avenues, she suggests. Following is a recent post by Dr. Hagenkord, reprinted with permission of Complete Genomics.*
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