Economics of Personalised Heath

Advances in science have increased the prospect of diagnosing, treating and preventing illness in a more personal way. Improved understanding of how individuals may benefit from tailored therapies will permit a better match and more informed choice by users and health care professionals. However, the discovery of personalised health innovations on its own will not necessarily lead to improvements in health. Potential benefits and possible disadvantages need to be considered so that the best use is made of the limited resources available in healthcare systems. An economic perspective on the costs and benefits of personalised health highlights important gaps in knowledge and understanding. The effects of personalised health will not be the same for everyone. Evaluating the impact of targeted treatments for different groups and individuals has to move away from traditional studies that aggregate vast numbers of people who do not necessarily belong together. Treating people in less uniform fashion should realise larger benefits for some and reduce the use of inappropriate and less effective therapies for the many. This research programme will develop and apply better ways of assessing the health and economic consequences of new and existing health technologies where personalised care is feasible and desirable. Opportunities to design and deliver better services that are sensitive to the needs of particular groups are widespread. The economic and health issues are genuine and deserve the application of proven methods to determine ways of improving health and welfare in Ireland. This research will aim to strengthen public interest in personalised health so that the positive effects of investing in these innovative approaches will be shared more wisely and fairly for everyone.
Specific research objectives include:

  • Developing timely and appropriate methods to enhance evaluation and improve incentives for adoption and use of personalised health interventions and targeted prevention strategies
  • Demonstrate how experimental and non-experimental study designs can be used to estimate the treatment and policy effects of personalised interventions targeting specific patient groups and populations sub-groups
  • Enhance the translation of personalised innovations into practice and policy by improved understanding of how individual patients value the costs and benefits of personalised health
  • Improve choices taking by patients, health professionals and policy makers on personalised treatment and prevention.
Award Date
22 March 2013
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor John Forbes
Host Institution
University of Limerick
Research Leader Awards