Precision Medicine treatments potentially offer improved patient outcomes for the diseases these medicines target. In order to determine which patients are appropriate for these targeted treatments, a series of diagnostic (e.g., companion diagnostic [CDx]) tests must be performed. These diagnostic tests look for characteristics in patients that help determine what treatments they may respond best to. In other words, a determining factor in the quest for the best possible treatment outcome is a therapy choice that is guided by diagnostic tests. That is why diagnostic testing needs to be seamlessly integrated into the patient treatment pathway. For this to happen, the coordination of efforts requires a level of rigor that cannot be overemphasized.
Indeed, it is no easy task to achieve the seamless integration of diagnostic testing into treatment pathways. First, many stakeholders are involved. Aside from patients, the diagnostic testing process includes labs (e.g., pathologists), physicians, diagnostic companies, insurance companies, biopharmaceutical companies, and regulatory authorities. Each of these stakeholders carries a level of responsibility and benefit that needs to be understood and addressed to achieve their purpose and, ultimately, deliver on better patient outcomes.
Additionally, the different activities that need to be carried out and coordinated in order to achieve optimal implementation of a diagnostic test‒guided therapy are not negligible, and include the following:
- Test quality and test harmonization programs need to be in place before a therapy is launched;
- Education for physicians and payers is necessary to elevate the understanding of the precision therapies and diagnostics tests, and their value;
- Patient advocacy projects and other efforts that drive public awareness regarding the impact that these innovations potentially have on outcomes need to have a proper place in the process of planning and launching these Precision Medicine treatments;
- Publications need to be supported and carried out;
- The laboratory and physician interface must be optimized as it is critical to streamlining test request and reporting processes; and
- Education between labs and diagnostic suppliers is needed to better understand different realities of implementation across the globe.
For the continued opportunity of better outcomes, it is not possible to conceive that timely patient access to diagnostic-driven innovations can happen without collaboration between all the stakeholders in this space and across all of these activities. It is important to note that this type of collaboration should be hosted by data-driven technology platforms that are capable of integrating all stakeholders and their efforts, and it should be fueled by an appropriate and realistic framework of investment. DXRX - The Diagnostic Network® is one such vehicle to collaboration and innovation. The world’s first diagnostic network for Precision Medicine, DXRX is an end-to-end solution for the development and commercialization of Precision Medicine diagnostics, from biomarker discovery to in-market test availability. Find out more about this collaborative, data-driven platform at DXRX - The Diagnostic Network®.