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HHS Issues First Department-Wide Report on Personalized Health Care

>Secretary Leavitt said the combination of genomic medicine, health IT, and better use of medical evidence will make possible much more effective health care -- such as learning which medicines, at what dosages, work best for which patients.

"Personalized health care means knowing what works, knowing why it works, knowing who it works for, and applying that knowledge for patients," he writes. "These goals may sound elementary, but a generation of effort lies ahead of us in achieving them."

Secretary Leavitt emphasized that personalized medicine, especially the use of genomic data, will require further attention to using information correctly, including protecting the privacy of identifiable personal health information and protection against misuse of that information. The Secretary also noted that the Bush Administration, since 2001, has supported enactment of federal law to protect against misuse of genomic information in employment and health insurance.

Some highlights of related activities in HHS include:

-- Genome-wide Association Studies, sponsored especially by the

National Institutes of Health (NIH), to identify genetic elements

in disease. New findings from these studies are now being reported

at a rapidly accelerating pace.

-- Efforts by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to

describe population-wide genomic characteristics and to help lay the

groundwork for using genomic elements in health care.

-- Programs under the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to improve

understanding of the causes of cancer and to improve treatment through

scientific advancement as well as new programs for sharing "best

treatment" information.

-- HHS-supported efforts in health IT to develop technical standards and

provide for secure exchange of medical data, aimed at supporting the

President's goal of electronic health records f

SOURCE U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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