Digital Health for Supporting Precision Medicine in Pediatric Endocrine Disorders: Opportunities for Improved Patient Care
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Abstract: Digitalization of healthcare delivery is rapidly fostering development of precision medicine. Multiple digital technologies, known as telehealth or eHealth tools, are guiding individualized diagnosis and treatment for patients, and can contribute significantly to the objectives of precision medicine. From a basis of “one-size-fits-all” healthcare, precision medicine provides a paradigm shift to deliver a more nuanced and personalized approach. Genomic medicine utilizing new technologies can provide precision analysis of causative mutations, with personalized understanding of mechanisms and effective therapy. Education is fundamental to the telehealth process, with artificial intelligence (AI) enhancing learning for healthcare professionals and empowering patients to contribute to their care. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region is rapidly implementing telehealth strategies at all levels and a workshop was convened to discuss aspirations of precision medicine in the context of pediatric endocrinology, including diabetes and growth disorders, with this paper based on those discussions. GCC regional investment in AI, bioinformatics and genomic medicine, is rapidly providing healthcare benefits. However, embracing precisionmedicine is presenting some major new design, installation and skills challenges. Genomic medicine is enabling precision and personalization of diagnosis and therapy of endocrine conditions. Digital education and communication tools in the field of endocrinology include chatbots, interactive robots and augmented reality. Obesity and diabetes are a major challenge in the GCC region and eHealth tools are increasingly being used for management of care. With regard to growth failure, digital technologies for growth hormone (GH) administration are being shown to enhance adherence and response outcomes. While technical innovations become more affordable with increasing adoption, we should be aware of sustainability, design and implementation costs, training of HCPs and prediction of overall healthcare benefits, which are essential for precision medicine to develop and for its objectives to be achieved.