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A Tale of Two Diagnoses: The Future of Personalized Medicine

Healthcare professional using an Ipad.

Two patients, two very different paths.

Dan Fobes, VP of Engineering & Co-Founder of Biolytica AG, joins Presidio’s Rob Kim and Allec Brust to discuss how his life’s work was driven by observing the healthcare both his father and his friend received. Both had the same diagnosis but two vastly different approaches to care, which led to Dan coming to a crossroads in his professional and personal life. 

We explore the concept of medicine 3.0 and what it means for healthcare today: the importance of personalized medicine, the cost of healthcare, and the need to incorporate personal DNA discussions into our healthcare. 

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How personalized medicine has developed over recent years
  • Why the healthcare industry is too big to fail and too big to succeed
  • What people can control as healthcare costs continue rising

How personalized medicine has developed over recent years

Dan’s father was diagnosed with cancer 10 years ago and took the traditional treatment route of chemotherapy. This worked well for about a year and a half before his passing.

About a year later, Dan was working out of California deploying monitoring software when he got a call from his coworker Mike, saying he couldn’t make it in. Mike had been diagnosed with cancer as well — the same cancer Dan’s father had been diagnosed with years before. 

But Mike wasn’t going to accept any treatment they threw his way — he wanted a say.

According to Dan, Mike was looking to personalize his treatment as much as possible. He utilized the technology he and Dan had been working on and used wearables to monitor every aspect of his body, checking in with doctors when new found information was discovered and requesting to alter his treatment accordingly. 

It was through this experience that Dan found his purpose and combined his professional and personal lives to work on Biolytica AG, personalizing healthcare for all, the same way that Mike did for himself. 

“For some people, protocol treatments will work, but for many, it’s at best okay and comes with side effects that sometimes exceeds the benefits.  You just swap one set of problems for another.,” Dan says. “That’s the way it’s engineered. The idea is to take all this technology and all this data and personalize it — that leap is not a trivial step.” 

Personalized healthcare has grown over recent years. It keeps people out of the binary of protocol treatments being a matter of ‘this could either work or not work’ and treats patients as individuals, customizing a treatment plan that works for them and is closely tracked.

Why the healthcare industry is too big to fail and too big to succeed

Though reform is overdue and personalized healthcare is up and coming, traditional healthcare is by no means failing — but it’s not quite succeeding either. 

“Its hard not to have some level of success with the money pouring in and available technology,” Dan says, “At the same time, it can’t be successful because it has all these disparate systems.”

Because of the massive size and success of the healthcare industry, they continue to be successful. But that’s the same reason they fall short. There are tons of doctors on the clock at once and tons of patients coming in. Treatment becomes reactive and routine. When there’s a problem, you come in, and then quickly look up a protocol. You’re working with multiple doctors who rely on their systems to treat you.

It’s up to you to be the integrator to see if there are any inconsistencies across the caregivers you’re working with. As technology evolves, patients can take more control and receive more transparency around their care.

“It’s exciting for us because the transition from reactive care to proactive care is absolutely enabled, we just need to be more aware of the sciences and technologies there are. You need a company to put it together,” says Dan.

What people can control as healthcare costs continue rising

The price of healthcare is continuously going up with seemingly no end in sight. 

While there’s not much we can do to change that reality, there are matters we can take into our own hands regarding our health. Dan says it’s all about diet, activity and sleep. And while many will argue that genetics prevent us from shaping the future of our health, Dan argues against that accepted fate. 

“We sometimes blame genetics for our issues and feel we can’t do anything about them. You can. That’s the bottom line — you can do a lot,” Dan says. “80% of your outcome is driven by your diet, your activity, and your sleep and you have full control over that.”

Tracking these factors available technology you can personally monitor health data such as HRV using an Oura ring and make adjustments personalized to our own data.

Want to learn more about personalized healthcare and how to be in control of your healthcare journey? Listen on Apple Music, Spotify or wherever you find your podcasts. 

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