By Focusing on Reducing Disease Risk, “Desktop Medicine” will Transform the Practice of Medicine

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Media Contact:Kim Menard | kim.menard@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-662-6183 November 10, 2010

Gone are the days when a doctor’s only way of helping patients is by treating the disease after symptoms have started. Instead, a new approach to medicine, called “Desktop Medicine” is emerging, in which the emphasis shifts from diagnosing diseases and treating symptoms to identifying risk-factors for medical conditions such as hypertension and osteoporosis, and intervening before they develop. The commentary appears in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Desktop medicine,” a model defined by Jason Karlawish, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, involves clinicians continuously gathering risk factor information – from a patient’s medical history, electronic medical records or recent office visit – and combining it with clinical studies about disease risk. Once the patient’s risk has been assessed, the physician can provide the appropriate intervention to prevent the onset of disease, rather than treat the disease once it is fully developed. 

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