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Precision Medicine

Precision Medicine describes the delivery of the right treatment to the right person at the right time. It has the power to improve health outcomes by using technology and data to tailor health care to individual patients. There is still much to learn, but Precision Medicine is already transforming health care — and we've been at the forefront of this exciting approach for nearly two decades.

Gif of DNA strand and magnifying glass

What is Precision Medicine?

Precision, or Personalized Medicine uses family history, environmental and lifestyle factors and genetic information to aid the screening, diagnosis and treatment of disease. While this approach has been around for a long time, recent rapid advances in genomics have accelerated the personalization of medicine, helping us anticipate disease and respond with targeted therapies.

Precision Medicine can help to prevent, diagnose and treat disease

Prevention Icon

Prevention

Precision Medicine helps to identify individuals at the highest risk for disease, allowing them to understand their increased risk and take steps to prevent disease.

For instance, a woman with a BRCA gene mutation can choose a preventive mastectomy before cancer has a chance to develop.

Diagnosis Icon

Diagnosis

Precision Medicine technologies can define disease at the individual patient level, while traditional approaches to diagnosis group diverse disease sub-types together.

For example, two people with the same cancer type can have different genetic markers that further refine their diagnoses and treatment options.

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Treatment

Precision Medicine discoveries are leading to targeted therapies that can improve the safety and effectiveness of treatment.

For instance, genomic profiling of breast tumors can identify individuals likely to benefit from chemotherapy and those who are not likely to benefit.

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Precision Medicine is advancing the future of health care

Genomics matters

There are many reasons people get sick — from the quality of their health care to causes related to the environment where they live. Behavioral patterns like diet or smoking also have a big impact. And genetic factors are important.

With Precision Medicine, we can better understand and address the genetic contribution to disease early on to better manage one's health.

Causes of premature death

Large slice of pie chart

70%

Social, environmental, behavior and clinical factors

Large slice of pie chart with detail

40%

Individual behavior: stress management; diet and exercise; following care plan

20%

Social and environmental factors: home and family; mental wellness; economic stability

10%

Clinical care

Small slice of pie chart

30%

Genetic factors

Source: J. Michael McGinnis, Pamela Williams-Russo and James R. Knickman. The Case For More Active Policy Attention To Health Promotion. Health Affairs 21, no.2 (2002): 78-93.

With Precision Medicine, we can better understand and address the genetic contribution to disease early on to better manage one's health.

Genomic discoveries are happening at a fast pace

In the last five years, the number of medical conditions for which genes have been identified has increased from approximately 1,000 conditions to 10,000, while the number of genetic tests has increased to over 50,000.

An increase in knowledge and tests has created new opportunities for understanding a patient's genetic make-up and predisposition to certain health conditions.

Genetic tests available on the market

Tests

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gtr/
Retrieved July 31, 2018

The value of Precision Medicine technologies

Aetna is an industry leader in examining and providing access to high quality Precision Medicine technologies, promoting those that are most likely to improve health outcomes for members and increase the value of care.

Not all technologies on the market have demonstrated ability to improve health care outcomes.

NON-PROVEN TESTS CONSUMER GENETICS ANCESTRY TESTING PATERNITY TESTING FORENSIC GENETICS PROVEN PHARMACOGENETIC TESTS PROVEN
COMMON
MUTATION
PANELS
PROVEN GENE THERAPIES PROVEN GENETIC DIAGNOSTIC TESTS
FULL GENE SEQUENCINGBRCA1 and 2 testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer

EVIDENCE-BASED REVIEW PROCESS

Aetna's
Precision
Medicine
strategy
NON-PROVEN TESTS CONSUMER GENETICS ANCESTRY TESTING PATERNITY TESTING FORENSIC GENETICS PROVEN PHARMACOGE
NETIC TESTS
PROVEN COMMON
MUTATION PANELS
PROVEN GENE THERAPIES PROVEN GENETIC DIAGNOSTIC TESTS
FULL GENE SEQUENCINGBRCA1 and 2 testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer
Genetic counseling support Care Considerations Notification of research opportunities Data analytics Clinical policy research & development Utilization management Quality lab contracts Aetna's Precision
Medicine strategy

EVIDENCE-BASED REVIEW PROCESS

NON-PROVEN TESTS CONSUMER GENETICS ANCESTRY TESTING PATERNITY TESTING FORENSIC GENETICS PROVEN PHARMACOGENETIC TESTS PROVEN COMMON
MUTATION PANELS
PROVEN GENE THERAPIES PROVEN GENETIC DIAGNOSTIC TESTS

EVIDENCE-BASED REVIEW PROCESS

FULL GENE SEQUENCINGBRCA1 and 2 testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer
Genetic counseling support Care Considerations Notification of research opportunities Data analytics Clinical policy research & development Utilization management Quality lab contracts Aetna's Precision
Medicine strategy

Aetna's success is built on more than a decade of groundbreaking experience

1998

1998 icon

Aetna developed the first comprehensive BRCA program for genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancers. This program earned the 2000 American Health Insurance Plans/Wyeth HERA Award.

2002

2002 icon

Aetna developed an online interactive genetic testing guide for members that won a 2003 World Wide Web Health Award from the Health Information Resource Center (HIRC).

2002 icon

Aetna was the first health plan to create and implement a genetic information privacy policy, becoming the model for other health plans.

2002 icon

Aetna pioneered a policy to cover genetic testing in non-Aetna members when the testing benefits a covered Aetna member.

2006

2006 icon

Aetna adopted an employment genetic nondiscrimination policy — the first in the industry.

2007

2007 icon

Aetna was the first health plan to develop genetic counseling services by phone.

2010

2010 icon

Aetna joined the FDA's Sentinel Initiative, which helps the agency proactively monitor the safety of medical products — including genetic tests.

2010 icon

The Aetna Foundation funded research collaborations with academic partners enabling Aetna members to voluntarily participate in research exploring the use of molecular genetic tests to guide breast cancer prediction, prevention and treatment. Other Aetna research is helping to inform how to optimize the quality of genetic breast cancer care for all women.

2011

2011 icon

Aetna entered into a research and data-sharing collaboration with Harvard Medical School's Department of Biological Informatics. So far, the collaboration has produced more than 50 publications that have shaped national health care quality and policy.

2012

2012 icon

The Aetna Foundation funded the American BRCA Outcomes and Utilization of Testing (ABOUT) study. The ABOUT study sought to identify the quality of BRCA services for inherited breast cancer risk assessment received by Aetna members.

2013

2013 icon

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provided funding for the five-year American BRCA Outcomes Among the Recently Diagnosed (ABOARD) study. The study followed 5,000 Aetna members from across the country who were newly diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent genetic testing to examine the influence genetic testing has on clinical treatment decisions among breast cancer patients and their doctors.

2015

2015 icon

Aetna became the first health plan to require a quality review of participating genetic testing labs. New rules were established that required labs to share genetic test result interpretations in ClinVar, a public database promoting transparency and quality of genetic testing.

2015 icon

Labs must share genetic test result interpretations in ClinVar, a public database promoting transparency and quality of genetic testing.

2017

2017 icon

Outcomes-based contracting for novel gene therapy-based treatments started.

2018 &
beyond

2018 icon

Aetna's continued leadership in health policy, coding policy and collaborative translational research is shaping the environment in which Precision Medicine is coming of age.

1998

1998 icon

Aetna developed the first comprehensive BRCA program for genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancers. This program earned the 2000 American Health Insurance Plans/Wyeth HERA Award.

2002

2002 icon

Aetna developed an online interactive genetic testing guide for members that won a 2003 World Wide Web Health Award from the Health Information Resource Center (HIRC).

2002 icon

Aetna was the first health plan to create and implement a genetic information privacy policy, becoming the model for other health plans.

2002 icon

Aetna pioneered a policy to cover genetic testing in non-Aetna members when the testing benefits a covered Aetna member.

2006

2006 icon

Aetna adopted an employment genetic nondiscrimination policy — the first in the industry.

2007

2007 icon

Aetna was the first health plan to develop genetic counseling services by phone.

2010

2010 icon

Aetna joined the FDA's Sentinel Initiative, which helps the agency proactively monitor the safety of medical products — including genetic tests.

2010 icon

The Aetna Foundation funded research collaborations with academic partners enabling Aetna members to voluntarily participate in research exploring the use of molecular genetic tests to guide breast cancer prediction, prevention and treatment. Other Aetna research is helping to inform how to optimize the quality of genetic breast cancer care for all women.

2011

2011 icon

Aetna entered into a research and data-sharing collaboration with Harvard Medical School's Department of Biological Informatics. So far, the collaboration has produced more than 50 publications that have shaped national health care quality and policy.

2012

2012 icon

The Aetna Foundation funded the American BRCA Outcomes and Utilization of Testing (ABOUT) study. The ABOUT study sought to identify the quality of BRCA services for inherited breast cancer risk assessment received by Aetna members.

2013

2013 icon

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provided funding for the five-year American BRCA Outcomes Among the Recently Diagnosed (ABOARD) study. The study followed 5,000 Aetna members from across the country who were newly diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent genetic testing to examine the influence genetic testing has on clinical treatment decisions among breast cancer patients and their doctors.

2015

2015 icon

Aetna became the first health plan to require a quality review of participating genetic testing labs. New rules were established that required labs to share genetic test result interpretations in ClinVar, a public database promoting transparency and quality of genetic testing.

2015 icon

Labs must share genetic test result interpretations in ClinVar, a public database promoting transparency and quality of genetic testing.

2017

2017 icon

Outcomes-based contracting for novel gene therapy-based treatments started.

2018 & beyond

2018 icon

Aetna's continued leadership in health policy, coding policy and collaborative translational research is shaping the environment in which Precision Medicine is coming of age.

1998

1998 icon

Aetna developed the first comprehensive BRCA program for genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancers. This program earned the 2000 American Health Insurance Plans/Wyeth HERA Award.

2002

2002 icon

Aetna developed an online interactive genetic testing guide for members that won a 2003 World Wide Web Health Award from the Health Information Resource Center (HIRC).

2002 icon

Aetna was the first health plan to create and implement a genetic information privacy policy, becoming the model for other health plans.

2002 icon

Aetna pioneered a policy to cover genetic testing in non-Aetna members when the testing benefits a covered Aetna member.

2006

2006 icon

Aetna adopted an employment genetic nondiscrimination policy — the first in the industry.

2007

2007 icon

Aetna was the first health plan to develop genetic counseling services by phone.

2010

2010 icon

Aetna joined the FDA's Sentinel Initiative, which helps the agency proactively monitor the safety of medical products — including genetic tests.

2010 icon

The Aetna Foundation funded research collaborations with academic partners enabling Aetna members to voluntarily participate in research exploring the use of molecular genetic tests to guide breast cancer prediction, prevention and treatment. Other Aetna research is helping to inform how to optimize the quality of genetic breast cancer care for all women.

2011

2011 icon

Aetna entered into a research and data-sharing collaboration with Harvard Medical School's Department of Biological Informatics. So far, the collaboration has produced more than 50 publications that have shaped national health care quality and policy.

2012

2012 icon

The Aetna Foundation funded the American BRCA Outcomes and Utilization of Testing (ABOUT) study. The ABOUT study sought to identify the quality of BRCA services for inherited breast cancer risk assessment received by Aetna members.

2013

2013 icon

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provided funding for the five-year American BRCA Outcomes Among the Recently Diagnosed (ABOARD) study. The study followed 5,000 Aetna members from across the country who were newly diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent genetic testing to examine the influence genetic testing has on clinical treatment decisions among breast cancer patients and their doctors.

2015

2015 icon

Aetna became the first health plan to require a quality review of participating genetic testing labs. New rules were established that required labs to share genetic test result interpretations in ClinVar, a public database promoting transparency and quality of genetic testing.

2015 icon

Labs must share genetic test result interpretations in ClinVar, a public database promoting transparency and quality of genetic testing.

2017

2017 icon

Outcomes-based contracting for novel gene therapy-based treatments started.

2018 & beyond

2018 icon

Aetna's continued leadership in health policy, coding policy and collaborative translational research is shaping the environment in which Precision Medicine is coming of age.

Girl and mom playing on jungle gym

Most of medicine... has been done one size fits all. We all know it doesn't always work... because we are not one-size-fits-all human beings. We all have different genetics and different environmental exposures. Ideally, you want medicine to adapt to that.

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