We are on the cusp of a transformation

‘By the end of the decade, personalised healthcare will become a reality for patients ‘ says Deirdre Poretti, Personalised Healthcare (PHC) Ecosystems at Roche

11th January, 2022
We are on the cusp of a transformation

What's your name and what position do you hold?

Deirdre Poretti, Personalised Healthcare (PHC) Ecosystems at Roche

Personalised healthcare is a shift from a one-size-fits-all approach to disease to maintaining health throughout one’s life by applying the right health interventions for the right person at the right time. This means that treatments are considered based on an individual’s genetic profile and disease variant rather than just an assessment of symptoms alone.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

I work with our local, global and across-country teams to design, shape and implement healthcare solutions that make personalised healthcare a reality for patients here in Ireland. Our vision is to ensure that the screening, diagnosis, treatment and even prevention of diseases will more quickly and effectively transform the lives of people everywhere - ensuring the right treatment for the right patient at the right time.

In Ireland, we have most recently worked on developing a nationally accessible Molecular Tumour Board with a panel of international experts in the field of molecular genomics and medical oncology to assist Irish physicians to interpret multigene sequencing reports, their findings, and the implications for Irish patients.

What is your professional background?

I have an undergraduate degree from UCD in Cell and Molecular Biology and a Master’s in Advanced Oncology. I have worked in Oncology in Roche for 14 years spanning many disease areas including breast cancer, lung cancer and GI cancers. I have a passion for oncology. It’s a dynamic area of research and can often be at the coal face of progress and scientific innovation. I enjoy working in partnership to make a difference by facilitating the adoption of new innovations to improve the experience and outcomes of cancer patients in Ireland.

What lessons have we learned for the next (health) crisis?

I think we have learned that far more is possible than we had previously thought when we break down perceived barriers between industry and health systems and work together for the benefit of patients. I also think that a positive learning from the pandemic is the value of innovation and how we can accelerate access to innovation where it’s needed by working together across industry and public service.

Whilst the pandemic continues to evolve and our colleagues continue developing, manufacturing and supplying key tests and medicines where they are needed most, I think it will ultimately change us as an industry, and the public’s perception of pharma. I think it will change how we interact with governments as we prepare for situations like this going forward.

What opportunities will emerge out of the current crisis and eventual recovery for transforming health care?

We are in a moment of huge disruption. And we are on the cusp of a transformation in healthcare with the convergence of technology, data and science. When data become insights, systems learn. The care experience and health outcomes improve and patients benefit.

The COVID-19 crisis demonstrated how stakeholders can forge new paths and partnerships to find and deliver solutions for a greater, common cause—the health of people across the world. The ‘we’re all in this together’ approach spurred by the pandemic must be adopted to tackle other major, systemic health issues.

The pandemic has also been a powerful catalyst for accelerating acceptance and adoption of electronic health records, telemedicine and other digital tools, which has allowed patients to get the monitoring and care they need while minimising risk of exposure and can reduce burden on overloaded healthcare facilities.

We have seen how much better we could have handled the pandemic through the digitalisation of data, and I hope that this will encourage governments and health authorities to embrace this.

What will the healthcare experience look like by the end of this decade?

An ideal personalised healthcare system requires integrated infrastructure that marries advances in data, analytics and digital technology with transformative changes in healthcare delivery and public policy for widespread access and long-term sustainability. Through these tailored solutions, we can improve prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment, and the ongoing monitoring and care of each person.

This holistic, integrated approach to healthcare delivery is designed to enable the seamless incorporation of innovations and advance better patient care and outcomes while reducing delayed access for patients and cost to society, supporting both individual and population health.

By the end of the decade, personalised healthcare will become a reality for patients worldwide through a combination of deep scientific expertise, holistic thinking and close collaboration with partners across the healthcare ecosystem. A collective effort across patients, caregivers, providers, payers, policymakers, regulators, biopharma and tech companies is essential, and already underway.

Universal implementation of personalised healthcare requires regulatory pathways and procedures that support and accept innovative evidence, realise economic value and ensure fair access to the best possible care. Roche is committed to working closely with policymakers and other partners to design, test and implement the policies and infrastructure essential to realising sustainable personalised healthcare ecosystems.

Deirdre Poretti is speaking at the 2022 virtual National Health Summit on Feb 8th. For full details and to book visit www.healthsummit.ie

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