The Use of Information Technology in Genomic Medicine

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The use of information technology in contemporary medicine has contributed to the increase in efficiency and effective delivery of healthcare. Information technology has been widely used in generation health-related data, research, and development of treatments among other medical issues. The use of information technology in genomic medicine has led to the accumulation of genetic information and the utilization of this information in personalized medical care and treatments. Information technology has enabled the healthcare professionals, and researchers acquire genomic data and the subsequent generation and processing of information to come up with effective treatments (West, 2011, p. 13). The field of genomic medicine has evolved over the years, and it focuses on the use of genomic information and linking the data to human gene structures to establish gene-specific diseases, treatment and adverse effects (Chute & Kohane, 2013, p. 1467). The focus of this paper is to evaluate the contribution of information technology in genome-based treatments for curing diseases as well as identifying the potential ethical and privacy issues that might result from such procedures.

How Information Technology Supports Genome-Based Treatments

Genome-based treatment is a medical discipline which uses genomic information for a specific individual to generate specified diagnostic and treatment decisions. The medications have been used in influencing the clinical decisions in the fields of pharmacology, rare diseases, and infectious diseases. The use of information technology in the healthcare sector in the collection of electronic health records and the acquisition of data has been used in genomic medicine as part of integrating genetic sequences and data. Thus, information technology use in genomic medicine has led to reduced costs in health care, the development of useful and more accurate diagnosis and treatments. Information technology has increased the access to information from different avenues such as social media, medical records, and other fields. The integration of health information in genomic medicine and treatments is a new revolution in healthcare since it is more personalized and effective.

Potential Ethical and Privacy Issues

Genomic-based treatments and medicine is a more personalized approach to healthcare, and this means an increase in privacy and ethical concerns. The issue of privacy is a major public problem in the United States as well as the rest of the world. The acquisition and use of medical information raise confidentiality concerns since the use of online sources severely compromises the privacy of an individual. The privacy concerns are attributed to the unauthorized sharing of information which is likely to jeopardize an individual. For example, the sharing of profound personal aspects such as genotypes, enzymes and protein signatures specific to an individual may bring ramifications on prospective employment, social relationships among others (Cordeiro, 2014, p. 168). For example, if employers understood that a specific gene is associated with a chronic disease or disorder; prospective screening of employees would be denied opportunities. Thus, privacy violations in genome-based treatments should be protected to maintain the integrity of the information as well as the individual.

Protection of Privacy and Information Access

Healthcare information is essential in personal decision making and other clinical choices which are highly refined and differentiated based on the individual genetic data. The protection of privacy and information access is a significant issue in the genomic medicine. The advancement of technology has led to the increase in digital intruders who take advantage of personal information, and the healthcare systems have to establish a sense of accountability in the access and control of patient information. In genomic medicine, sharing of data is beneficial since it enables secondary analysis, comparison of data and thus the privacy concerns arise from the re-use of information and the public dissemination of information without consent. Genomic-based treatment is highly personalized, and the identification of a specific individual is highly probable. The use of patient data for the future research is considered a violation of privacy since it is impossible to gain approval for current and future use of tissue sample (Cordeiro, 2014, p. 168). The issue of consent is complicated, and often it is the cause of disputes in the medical and legal fields. Thus, the problem of privacy and consent deal with the maintenance of confidentiality in the acquisition, sharing of medical information which in turn protects the individual from potential discrimination and other consequences.

Legal and Ethical Concerns in Genomic-Based Treatments and Research

The legal and ethical concerns in genomic-based treatments and research are associated with the acquisition of biological (genetic) materials and the establishment of biobanks for medical and research institutions. The issue of access of the stored contents and ownership is disputable since there should be regulations of information as well as informed consent paradigm. The line in large-scale research is blurred since most institutions violate and exploit the individual by using private data and information in the generation of clinical trials and medications (Cordeiro, 2014, p. 171). Thus, the issue of informed consent is debatable in modern healthcare where technology has invaded the sectors.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, the use of information technology in genome-based treatments has helped in improving the quality of health care and the reduction of costs. The genome-based therapies used own specific gene-information to generate accurate procedures and thus the use of private information is subject to the privacy and ethical concerns. These include the methods of collecting and storing information. Genome-based knowledge raises the privacy issues where access rights, the disclosure of personal information and data is a contagious issue in the medical field. Thus, the use of information technology in genomic should ensure data security and protection by the use of proper legislation and controls.


Chute, C. G., & Kohane, I. S. (2013). Genomic Medicine, Health Information Technology, and Patient Care. JAMA, 309(14), 1467-1468. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.1414

Cordeiro, J. V. (2014). Ethical and legal challenges of personalized medicine: Paradigmatic examples of research, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Revista Portuguesa de Saúde Pública, 32(2), 164-180. doi:10.1016/j.rpsp.2014.10.002

West, D. M. (2011). Enabling Personalized Medicine through Health Information Technology: Advancing the Integration of Information. Retrieved from Brookings website:

September 04, 2023


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