Involving all aspects of Stanford Medicine — including research and patient care — the focus on precision health will draw on Stanford's existing strengths while propelling the development of new discoveries and transforming health-care delivery, Minor explained.
The choice of "precision health" rather than "precision medicine" is deliberate and a distinction that is reflective of Stanford's leadership role. While both precision health and precision medicine are targeted and personalized, precision health is proactive, with an emphasis on maintaining health. In contrast, precision medicine is reactive, with a focus on caring for the sick. Precision health includes prediction and prevention; precision medicine involves diagnosis and treatment.
Minor used the model of a tree to describe Stanford's focus on precision health.
Basic research and biomedical data science form the trunk, the foundation that supports the entire endeavor. Nine "biomedical platforms" form the major branches; these platforms include immunology, cancer biology and the neurosciences, among others. The tree's leaves are its clinical core, with treatment teams in cardiac care, cancer and maternal and newborn health, for example.
The growth of the tree, its tippy top, is fueled by predictive, preventative and longitudinal care — where innovations in knowledge and care drive further changes in the future of health-care.
Minor made two key points about the tree, and its implications for research and care at Stanford.
First, the tree is big and growing. "There is room for everyone on the tree," he said. "That is one thing that will make this plan — this tree — so powerful."
Secondly, the tree is ever-changing. "Care will be analyzed and fed back. That's really the true heart and meaning of the learning health-care system," Minor said. "Every encounter is part of a much bigger whole."
The entire effort will be fueled by big data, Minor said. To recognize its importance, and help train future leaders, Stanford Medicine also plans to create a new biomedical data science Department.
"We're poised to lead," Minor said. "We build upon a history of innovation, an entrepreneurial mindset, visionary faculty and students and a culture of collaboration."
Previously: Big Data in Biomedicine conference kicks off today, Stanford Medicine's Lloyd Minor on re-conceiving medical education and Meet the medical school's new dean: Lloyd Minor
Photo by Saul Bromberger