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Next Gen Prevention GSG Cover Page

Next Generation Prevention - A Giving Smarter Guide

Feb 05, 2019

James A. Randall with Cara M. Altimus, Ya Luan Hsiao, and LaTese Briggs


Precision health focuses on improving overall health and preventing disease, rather than treating disease. Using individual patient information like genetics, environmental and psychosocial factors, and lifestyle, precision health as an emerging discipline seeks to predict illness and to keep people healthy. One of the major goals of precision health is to re-engineer, and ultimately transition, a health system focused on reactive “sick care” to one focused on proactive “health care.”

Through interviews with key opinion leaders, systems-based analyses, and a funder’s summit, the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy identified three barriers to implementing precision health ideas and technologies within medical practice, along with key funding opportunities to address each barrier.

The three greatest barriers are:

  1. Insufficient scientific evidence
  2. Insufficient data sharing among relevant health partners
  3. Lack of field-wide coordination

This Giving Smarter Guide outlines potential solutions to each problem, which will help move the field of precision health forward and into the mainstream.

We recommend the following steps:

  • Promote the development and standardization of precision health tools
  • Support the development of and continued use of medically-validated measures to record daily functioning, lifestyle, and environmental factors to quantify health
  • Explore the cost-effectiveness of measurements in existing longitudinal cohorts
  • Create specialized data platforms to facilitate data sharing in addition to funding data gathering, storing, analyzing, and sharing
  • Develop an organization focused exclusively on precision health