A Review into Ethnic Health Inequalities in Precision Medicine and the Future of Healthcare




At the frontier of medical innovation, technologies promise to make healthcare more personalised, more efficient, and safer. Precision medicine can take us beyond a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment; artificial intelligence and machine learning can improve our diagnostic capacities and population-level service planning; and genomics can help with our understanding and treatment of diseases. 

There is a risk, however, that these advances could leave behind those communities who already experience ethnic health inequalities. The Observatory has therefore commissioned a review into ethnic inequalities in precision medicine, including a consideration of the risks of inequalities being embedded in future practice, and the potential for good practice in precision medicine to reduce or eliminate ethnic health inequalities. 


This review will aim to consider:  

  • Research and sampling bias, whereby biases are built into biomedical research and genomic medicine as a result of non-diverse cohorts in genome mapping exercises.  
  • Inequality in patient access to precision medicine services, including genetic counselling, pharmacogenomics and other areas.   
  • Clinical education needs regarding precision medicine, and the impact that clinical education can have on promoting diverse access to precision medicine services.   
  • Public-facing education needs and the impact that public health campaigns etc can have in promoting more diverse access to precision medicine services.   
  • The effectiveness of the current NHS Genomic Medicine Service in promoting ethnic health equity in England.  
  • The broader societal and structural issues that work to embed inequality in innovative medicine.