Sir William Osler (1849-1919) recognized that “variability is the law of life, and as no two faces are the same, so no two bodies are alike, and no two individuals react alike and behave alike under the abnormal conditions we know as disease”. Accordingly, the traditional methods of medicine are not always best for all patients. Over the last decade, the study of genomes and their derivatives (RNA, protein and metabolite) has rapidly advanced to the point that genomic research now serves as the basis for many medical decisions and public health initiatives. Genomic tools such as sequence variation, transcription and, more recently, personal genome sequencing enable the precise prediction and treatment of disease. At present, DNA-based risk assessment for common complex diseases, application of molecular signatures for cancer diagnosis and prognosis, genome-guided therapy, and dose selection of therapeutic drugs are the important issues in personalized medicine. In order to make personalized medicine effective, these genomic techniques must be standardized and integrated into health systems and clinical workflow. In addition, full application of personalized or genomic medicine requires dramatic changes in regulatory and reimbursement policies as well as legislative protection related to privacy. This review aims to provide a general overview of these topics in the field of personalized medicine.