If you’ve ever purchased a suit, you know that one size most definitely doesn’t fit all. The practice of medicine today can be likened to an ill-fitting mass-produced suit, and the majority of stores only stock “medium” sized ones.

Thankfully, nowadays one can easily order a tailor-made suit that fits our body shape and style. Similarly, technology is driving a revolution in human health that will enable tailored medical interventions. This type of “High-Definition Medicine” takes into consideration a person’s detailed health parameters at an unprecedented level of resolution.

Scientists at the Scripps Translational Science Institute have published a review of the core principles of High-Definition Medicine, framing how the technologies behind it will alter the future of medicine. The article, published on August 24 in Cell, examines both the technological progress, as well as our ability to understand and act upon the data that is generated.

The authors – Ali Torkamani, PhD, Kristian Andersen, PhD, Steven Steinhubl, MD, and Eric Topol, MD – define High-Definition Medicine as “the dynamic assessment, management, and understanding of an individual’s health measured at (or near) its most basic units”. They assert that a combination of disciplines, including the biological and medical sciences, computer science, and engineering, enable the production of large volumes of clinically useful information, driving the development of precise and individualized interventions.

In addition to outlining the health management strategies that form the basis of High-Definition Medicine, the authors identify a number of hurdles to implementing this data-driven approach. Policies governing data capture, storage and privacy are needed, as are training programs for medical practitioners and the integration of these data and technologies into the clinical workflow in order to drive adoption.

Read ‘High-Definition Medicine’ in Cell.