Specific training, the first requirement for the implementation of precision medicine

In the era of digital health, it is not only essential to collect the greatest amount of data that new technologies facilitate, but also to be able to analyze it. In the same way, you need specific training in the different omic sciences and in bioethics that leads to the full implementation of personalized precision medicine in the National Health System (SNS). These and other challenges have been addressed at the conference ‘Configuring the Medicine of the Future: training needs in Personalized Precision Medicine​’, organized by the Roche Institute Foundation together with Next Education.

During this meeting, in which the need to acquire new skills in the field of precision medicine, Celia Gomez Gonzalezgeneral director of Professional Regulation of the Ministry of Health, has recognized that “there is not specific training in all universities” and that “more work” must be done in the continuous training of health professionals.

“Many professionals have had to seek this learning outside of established training. This pipeline of precision medicine leaders can help drive this paradigm shift“, he pointed out. Likewise, the ministerial representative has insisted that the collection of health data must be unified. “You have to structure and direct them with the knowledge of professionals,” she considered.

new skills

This conference has served as a context to present the document ‘Proposal of Competences in Personalized Precision Medicine for health professionals’, which includes 58 skills that health professionals should acquire to work in a personalized precision medicine scenario, classified into six domains —Determinants of health, Biomedical informatics, Practical applications, Participatory health, Bioethics and Transversal competences—.

“Currently there has been a burst of genomics and other omics sciences, together with digital health. It’s fundamental driving biological knowledge in parallel with data knowledge, so it is essential that professionals are trained. It is a simple document whose objective is to serve as a practical guide for the SNS”, explained Federico Plaza, vice president of the Roche Institute Foundation.

For its part, John Cruz Cigudosa, Minister of University, Innovation and Digital Transformation of the Government of Navarra, has broken down where the solutions to this training deficit in Spain go. “First, you have to update the study plans. In almost no university there is training in Clinical Genetics and we are the only country in Europe in which this specialty is not recognized. In second place, academic curricula need to be modified so that concepts such as health data management, digitization, personalized precision medicine, etc. are incorporated in both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. And, thirdly, the deficit of master’s degrees or own degrees that exist applied to the bioinformatics or bioinformatics applied to medicine“, has summed up.

Carlos Lopez-Otinprofessor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Oviedo, agreed with this lack of training and stressed that it is necessary to educate “global and heterogeneous”. “It is necessary to create pedagogical structures and training strategies in these methodologies”, pointed out the professor, who recalled that “teachers have not been trained in this new knowledge either”.

In terms of resources, Fernando Martin Sanchez, professor of Research in Biomedical Informatics at the National School of Health of the Carlos III Health Institute, has emphasized that not only training is needed, but also support systems that allow the practical application of precision medicine. “More artificial intelligence-based support systems are needed that can guide healthcare professionals,” he argued.

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