HHS Secretary Leavitt Announces Steps Toward A Future of “Personalized Health Care”

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today outlined a course for achieving gene-based medical care combined with health information technology, which he called “Personalized Health Care.” He said the initiative has the potential to transform the quality, safety and value of health care for patients in the future.
“Personalized health care will combine the basic scientific breakthroughs of the human genome with computer-age ability to exchange and manage data,” Secretary Leavitt said. “Increasingly it will give us the ability to deliver the right treatment to the right patient at the right time — every time.”
In a speech before the annual meetings of the Personalized Medicine Coalition, at the National Press Club, the Secretary outlined steps already under way to develop the needed information, as well as new steps he is undertaking to build the foundation for personalized health care and ensure that gene-based medical data and health information technology are used appropriately.
“Every one of us is biologically unique. We’ve always known that, but we haven’t had the knowledge or the tools to deliver health care at that kind of individual level. That’s what’s changing,” Secretary Leavitt said.
Gene-based medicine can help individuals identify their particular susceptibilities to disease while they are well and take effective preventive steps. In the future, it will help detect the onset of disease much earlier, enabling treatment to prevent disease progression, and can help bring about medical products that are tailored more precisely to the needs of each individual.
{The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) once again is putting the privacy rights of American citizens dead last in its rush to ensure the profits and viability of healthcare corporations involved in the field of genetics and data mining. In setting his course for “achieving gene-based medical care combined with health information technology,” which he called ‘Personalized Health Care,’ Secretary Leavitt flaunts long-established legal rights to medical privacy and 2,400 years of medical ethics that require patient consent BEFORE access to any sensitive medical and genetic information is allowed. His goals are to ‘ensure open information access to researchers,’ ‘create a new electronic network that would draw together the nation’s major health data repositories,’ and use the American Health Information Community (AHIC) to ‘develop recommendations to identify standards for including genetic test information on electronic health records.’ The public does not want ‘open access’ to genetic records by researchers without consent, does not want the nation’s health data repositories to be connected for data sharing without explicit consent, and does not want the industry appointees and unelected federal officials on AHIC to determine the fundamental privacy rights Americans will have for their genomes and genetic information—–We all want the enormous benefits that genetic research can bring, but the benefits will never occur unless Congress gives Americans control over who has access to their genetic records. There is a strong and clear public consensus for the right to genetic privacy. ~ Dr. Deborah Peel, Patient Privacy Rights}

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