Precision Medicine is about using the appropriate treatment for the appropriate patient at the appropriate time, allowing healthcare professionals to manage a patient’s illnesses based upon the knowledge of genetics, environment and lifestyle.
The Farr Institute worked in areas such as genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, the microbiome, epigenetics and pharmacogenetics using medical information held within the electronic health record and disease registries. This enabled diagnostic tests, drugs, and other new medical technologies to be developed and applied within the healthcare system quicker and on a larger scale to improve the health and care of patients across the country.
Clinical trials are essential to the development of drugs and medical technology and are necessary to establish the effectiveness and safety of new treatments. By utilising electronic health records, researchers at The Farr Institute looked at new ways of reducing the time and cost of clinical trials which can often contribute to the costs of new drugs and technologies.
Identifying participants who match the criteria for a trial can often be challenging. Researchers at The Farr Institute were involved in two European funded projects which aim to use the electronic health record to address this:
Electronic Health Records for Clinical Research, identifying patients connected to hospital visits
TRANSFoRM, identifying potential participants when they visit their GPS.
Linkage to electronic health records can also be used for long term follow up of patients after a clinical trial. One of the first studies to illustrate this was The West of Scotland Coronary Prevention Study led by Professor Ian Ford.
The electronic health record is also a key tool to allow the monitoring and assessment of a treatment once it is approved within healthcare systems, known as pragmatic or ‘real world evidence’ trials. A recent example of this is the Salford Lung Study undertaken by GSK in partnership with researchers from The Farr Institute at University of Manchester and North West EHealth.