Participatory medicine and patient empowerment towards personalized healthcare in multiple sclerosis

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The current understanding that the key for successful healthcare is an integrated approach, involving predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory medicine, is leading major changes. These are: a shift from medical decisions based on ‘trial and error’ to informed therapeutics based on diagnostics (theranostics); a shift from a ‘disease-centered’ to a ‘patient-centered’ approach; and a shift from a ‘reactive’ to ‘proactive’ medical approach. It is essential that not only the physician, but also the patient, becomes proactive. Therefore, beyond the integration of genomic medicine and predictive biomarkers into practice, patient empowerment and participatory medicine are gaining increasing attention. This requires, besides appropriate sharing of information between patients and healthcare providers, new insights in patient involvement, such as patient-reported outcomes, both at the clinical trial stage of drug development and during post-marketing follow-up assessments. Patient empowerment and participatory medicine, as part of predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory medicine, are especially crucial in paving the way towards optimized healthcare in complex and chronic neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.

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