The environmental impact of data-driven precision medicine initiatives
Opportunities offered by precision medicine have long been promised in the medical and health literature. However, precision medicine – and the methodologies and approaches it relies on – also has adverse environmental impacts. As research into precision medicine continues to expand, there is a compelling need to consider these environmental impacts and develop means to mitigate them. In this article, we review the adverse environmental impacts associated with precision medicine, with a particular focus on those associated with its underlying need for data-intensive approaches. We illustrate the importance of considering the environmental impacts of precision medicine and describe the adverse health outcomes that are associated with climate change. We follow this with a description of how these environmental impacts are being addressed in both the health and data-driven technology sector. We then describe the (scant) literature on environmental impacts associated with data-driven precision medicine specifically. We finish by highlighting various environmental considerations that precision medicine researchers, and the field more broadly, should take into account.
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