Innovations bring promise & peril

Fantastic SLA PH&T Division conference at the Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando, began with Kevin Davies, Chief Editor Bio-IT World and author of The $1,000 Genome (Free Press 2010). He’s an unbelievably engaging, articulate, funny & informed speaker.  And he explored the revolution in DNA sequencing technologies, personal genomics and the evolving environment of personalized medicine.  Yep. Personalized medicine.  Today, for $200, you can spit in a cup & have your DNA screened; this isn’t the detailed DNA sequencing that identifies EVERYTHING about your physiological make-up, but it can identify significant abnormalities in your DNA — such as a man whose screening revealed he had advanced prostate cancer with NO symptoms.  Talk about customized — he was able to take the results to his doctor and steps were taken (surgery, cancer treatment) to save his life.  As the price point of DNA sequencing continues to drop, how will people handle this information? what’s the impact on the medical system? on the insurance system? Certainly DNA sequencing will help with drug develop, patient stratification and tailoring treatment; it will also raise huge questions regarding how organizations and insurers handle this information.  Davies ended with the premise of “the 15 minute genome by 2014”. 

Yo.  That’s a premise. Holding much promise & peril.  Every evolution, revolution & innovation brings promise & peril.

And that’s what struck me as I gave a talk about Thinking Strategically & Critically.  As we consider & question our assumptions regarding access and resources, we open up possibilities. And, with possibilities — with dreams — with change comes promise & peril.  Speakers here are talking about artificial hearts, artificial skin — incredible potential, promise & peril.

Is it scary to redefine our services, our roles & processes? It’s far scarier NOT to. No peril? Then no promise.

 

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