Health Economics Tools and Precision Medicine: Opportunities and Challenges

Forum Health Econ Policy. 2020 Mar 5;23(1). doi: 10.1515/fhep-2019-0013.


Precision medicine - individualizing care for patients and addressing variations in treatment response - is likely to be important in improving the nation's health in a cost-effective manner. Despite this promise, widespread use of precision medicine, specifically genomic markers, in clinical care has been limited in practice to date. Lack of evidence, clear evidence thresholds, and reimbursement have been cited as major barriers. Health economics frameworks and tools can elucidate the effects of legal, regulatory, and reimbursement policies on the use of precision medicine while guiding research investments to enhance the appropriate use of precision medicine. Despite the capacity of economics to enhance the clinical and human impact of precision medicine, application of health economics to precision medicine has been limited - in part because precision medicine is a relatively new field - but also because precision medicine is complex, both in terms of its applications and implications throughout medicine and the healthcare system. The goals of this review are several-fold: (1) provide an overview of precision medicine and key policy challenges for the field; (2) explain the potential utility of economics methods in addressing these challenges; (3) describe recent research activities; and (4) summarize opportunities for cross-disciplinary research.

Keywords: genomics; health economics; precision medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Health Care Costs / trends*
  • Humans
  • Precision Medicine / economics*
  • Precision Medicine / methods
  • Precision Medicine / trends*