Laurence Sperling, MD, on the Future of Management: Precision Medicine and Population Health

In the future, will there be a stronger focus on precision medicine, population health, or both? In this video, Million Hearts® Executive Director Laurence Sperling, MD, provides his predictions and what that future may look like.

Additional Resources:

  1. Sperling L. About the Million Hearts® Initiative. Cardiology Consultant. 2020. Accessed September 22, 2020.
  2. Million Hearts®. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed September 22, 2020.


Laurence Sperling, MD, is the executive director of the Million Hearts® for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He is also a Katz professor in preventive cardiology and a professor of global health at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. 

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Laurence Sperling: I raised the question whether the future will be more of a focus on precision medicine, population health, or both. Precision medicine, I do think for each and every individual, we should be focusing on optimizing care for that person who trusts us their care.

The question about precision medicine is, do we already have many of the tools to already individualize that care and by moving into the realm of additional markers, genomics, metabolomics, etc.? Here, we need validation and cost‑effectiveness data to be able to convince us that this is the better approach. 

We do know that the population health approach is well‑proven. This is, if we think about a bell curve distribution of a population and pick a certain metrics such as body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol. By moving the health of that population just a little bit to the left or in the appropriate direction, we know that in that population, we can have a great impact.

We can think about approaching 1 life at a time, a population, but really this intersection is what we need to really be focused on. Bettering clinical prevention certainly improvement in the delivery of population prevention strategies, and then the intersection is really where we live, work, play, and learn at the level of the community.

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