In an interesting post, Razib Khan is sharply critical of the desire of some doctors to restrict patients' knowledge of the results of genetic testing. In genomics we really are at a point where we can learn more about our genome, and that of our children, than we, or anyone, can understand.
Khan concludes with this:
Rather than attempting to deny the dissemination of information, a more plausible, and frankly just, path would be to develop better means of interpretation for the public. Medical institutions arose in the 20th century, during an era of vast centralized organizations. That mentality seems to have carried over. But this is going to be a century of decentralization and commoditization of many technologies which were once the purview of the elite. (emphasis mine)
I'm in marketing, so where Khan sees an ethical issue, I see a business opportunity. The amount and variety of genomic information will only continue to grow. How is anyone to make sense of it? How can we make decisions based on that information?
Physicians will not be the only, or even the best, guides to this new world. For one thing, most physicians are completely incapable of incorporating statistical information, or communicating it. So some group, with a good handle on statistics, data analysis, and genomics, but also on cognitive models, communications, and decision support, could arise to serve this purpose.
It will be hard for this service to get reimbursed, at least at first, or maybe ever. But I think it would really be something people would be willing to pay for. In general, data integration, decision support, and the spinning of data into knowledge will be services much desired, and thus well recompensed, in the coming world were data is cheap, but understanding expensive.
If you've got the analysis, I've got the communications. Give me a call.