This week Avera McKennan is celebrating its past, but at the same time looking forward to its future.
"This is the most exciting time in medicine." Said Dr. Eric Topol.
Dr. Topol is the key speaker for the hospital's centennial gala. But Thursday he spoke to doctors about how technology is taking medicine to the next level.
"Technology, especially technology related to personalized medicine is going to effect all of us in the future." Said Steve Lindquist, Assistant Vice President for Behavioral Health.
Cell phones, the Internet, and even iPods are making it easier to diagnose what's ailing patients. Having that same technology readily available is also allowing doctors to hone in on disease on the cellular level.
"Now we can add genomics, DNA sequencing, bio sensors and advanced imaging and information systems and those are the super conversions that are extraordinary." Said Dr. Topol.
Dr. Topol is a leader in the field of genomics which is the newest way to fight disease.
"It's the ability to sequence anyone's DNA accurately, quickly, and inexpensively and determine what is biologically unique about that individual." Said Dr. Topol.
That helps doctors determine what medication to prescribe, the dose, and the cause. Genomics is not just treating the disease, but treating the individual patient.
Avera McKennan has one of the few genetics labs in the country where genomics are studied and put into practice.
"I'm impressed they are receptive and they can also be leaders in this space because very few are stepping up." Said Dr. Topol.
Doctors in the Avera McKennan lab are studying how a patient's genetic build up and environment can impact behavioral disease and disorders like Alzheimer's and diabetes.
"Our genetic makeup may give us predispositions toward certain conditions then often it's our environment that turns those predispositions into a disease state." Said Lindquist.
This research is state of the art and having Dr. Topol here for the centennial celebration also allows for doctors to share their ideas in this emerging field.
"It's pretty remarkable the things were able to do now, we weren't able to dream of just five years ago." Said Lindquist.
Dr. Topol says the medical field is constantly changing but it's not just about improving health but lengthening lives.
"We want people to live healthy long and that's really what all this research and this era is all about." Said Dr. Topol.
Using revolutionary methods, like genomics, to treat patients is just further proof the next century of care at Avera McKennan will be bright and successful as the first.