Precision Child Health (PCH)

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Precision Child Health (PCH) is a movement in health care focused on delivering individualized care to every child by finding better ways to predict, prevent, diagnose, and treat disease.

Key points

  • Every child is unique. Precision Child Health enables a better understanding of each child to provide more individualized care as well as find better ways to predict, prevent, diagnose and treat disease.
  • Every child should be able to participate in research that will enable them and their families to benefit from individualized care pathways and from knowledge gained through Precision Child Health.
  • Precision Child Health is built on a foundation of equity and developed in partnership with patients, families, and communities.

What is Precision Child Health?

Precision Child Health is a movement that aims to understand each child’s health by integrating all the information they share about themselves (their genetic, biological, social, and environmental information, as well as their preferences and values) to build an understanding of the whole child—from their genetic code to their postal code. The collection of this detailed information enables health-care providers and scientists to understand how a child’s environment and experiences interact with and impact their genes and health. This allows for treatments and care plans to be designed to best meet the needs of each individual patient.

Through the use of cutting-edge technology and tools (e.g., artificial intelligence [AI], genomic sequencing, 3D printing, etc.), PCH allows health-care providers to deliver individualized care. This approach is developed in partnership with patients, families, and communities. Every child and every family should be offered the opportunity to participate in PCH, including participation in research, data collection, and individualized care pathways.

The goals of Precision Child Health

​​​Through PCH, it is possible to diagnose faster, treat smarter, predict more accurately, and ultimately prevent childhood disease.

Diagnose faster

Using new technologies, like genome sequencing and rapid diagnostic tests, PCH can shorten the time between the onset of disease and receiving a definitive medical diagnosis for your child. PCH can help achieve this goal by providing ways to evaluate, assess and implement new and cutting-edge diagnostic tools safely and effectively.

Treat smarter

Treating smarter means enabling the development of new and novel precision therapies, based on a deeper understanding of the child and their disease, and delivering them safely and effectively to children across Canada. This involves collaborating with other paediatric institutions as well as with industry and government partners locally, nationally, and internationally. This pooled effort will help create new therapies, surgical interventions, and medical devices, as well as improve access to such interventions for all children.

Predict better

PCH will shift the approach to care from one that is reactive to one that is proactive. Using new AI and machine learning technologies, health-care providers will be equipped with the tools to make better care decisions, reduce harmful health outcomes, predict better medication choices, prevent unnecessary tests, and improve the patient experience.

How can my child participate in Precision Child Health initiatives?

Speak with your child’s health-care provider to explore current opportunities. As more knowledge rapidly develops over time, your child may also benefit from future discoveries.

Last updated: September 21st 2023