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01-12-2013 | Review | Uitgave 10/2013

Quality of Life Research 10/2013

Using patient-reported measurement to pave the path towards personalized medicine

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 10/2013
Mirjam A. G. Sprangers, Per Hall, Donald E. Morisky, William E. Narrow, Juan Dapueto



Given the potential and importance of personalized or individualized medicine for health care delivery and its effects on patients’ quality of life, a plenary session was devoted to personalized medicine during the 19th Annual Conference of the International Society for Quality of Life Research held in October 2012 in Budapest, Hungary. This paper summarizes the three presentations and discusses their implications for quality-of-life research.


Reviews of the literature and presentation of empirical studies.


Personalized screening for breast cancer. To individualize screening and only target those women with an increased risk for breast cancer, researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm perform a large population-based study to identify high-risk women based on lifestyle, genetics, mammographic morphology, and other markers as well as quality of life. Personalized support for treatment adherence. Inclusion of a simple, brief adherence measure into the clinical visit has demonstrated significant improvement in medication-taking behaviour and resultant improvement in health status. Personalized diagnosis of mental disorders. The DSM-5, the current manual for mental disorders, contains patient-based symptom and diagnosis severity measures that allow more individualized diagnosis than was hitherto possible.


Personalized medicine will continue to be increasingly applied and holds the potential to improve health outcomes including quality of life. At the same time, it will invite a host of new ethical, practical, and psychosocial questions. Further reflection and discussion of how our field can embrace and address these emerging challenges is needed.

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