Moving Us Closer To Osler
A Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence Initiative

Knowing the Patient as a Person in Precision Medicine


We must consider each person’s life experiences – so-called Personomics – alongside the many “-omics” that are essential components of Precision Medicine. Personomonics contributes to how illness is expressed, and ideally how it should be diagnosed and treated.

Some have questioned whether genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, pharmacogenomics, and other “-omics” will actually contribute significantly to human health. Indeed, a recent NY Times article asked, “Are We Being Misled About Precision Medicine?” I am confident that more precise characterization of human biology will have important positive effects on health and healthcare, however their ultimate impact is presently unclear and we must acknowledge that these sciences are still in their infancy.


This is the also the case with the practices needed in each situation and specialty to appreciate the individuality of every patient and every patient’s unique life circumstances. This article, and this table, offer suggestions of how to get to know patients as individuals. What is offered here admittedly demonstrates that the science of “getting to know the patient as a person” (i.e., of Personomics) is still in its infancy, as is the case with the other “-omics” of precision medicine.