The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine Is in Your Hands
By Eric Topol
A trip to the doctor is almost a guarantee of misery. You'll make an appointment months in advance. You'll probably wait for several hours until you hear "the doctor will see you now"-but only for fifteen minutes! Then you'll wait even longer for lab tests, the results of which you'll likely never see, unless they indicate further (and more invasive) tests, most of which will probably prove unnecessary (much like physicals themselves). And your bill will be astronomical.
In The Patient Will See You Now, Eric Topol, one of the nation's top physicians, shows why medicine does not have to be that way. Instead, you could use your smartphone to get rapid test results from one drop of blood, monitor your vital signs both day and night, and use an artificially intelligent algorithm to receive a diagnosis without having to see a doctor, all at a small fraction of the cost imposed by our modern healthcare system.
The change is powered by what Topol calls medicine's "Gutenberg moment." Much as the printing press took learning out of the hands of a priestly class, the mobile internet is doing the same for medicine, giving us unprecedented control over our healthcare. With smartphones in hand, we are no longer beholden to an impersonal and paternalistic system in which "doctor knows best." Medicine has been digitized, Topol argues; now it will be democratized. Computers will replace physicians for many diagnostic tasks, citizen science will give rise to citizen medicine, and enormous data sets will give us new means to attack conditions that have long been incurable. Massive, open, online medicine, where diagnostics are done by Facebook-like comparisons of medical profiles, will enable real-time, real-world research on massive populations. There's no doubt the path forward will be complicated: the medical establishment will resist these changes, and digitized medicine inevitably raises serious issues surrounding privacy. Nevertheless, the result-better, cheaper, and more human health care-will be worth it.
Provocative and engrossing, The Patient Will See You Now is essential reading for anyone who thinks they deserve better health care. That is, for all of us.
Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer" "Topol's analysis draws us to the very frontlines of medicine, and leaves us with a view of a landscape that is both foreign and daunting. He manages to recount this story in simple, lucid language--resulting in an enthralling and important book." Atul Gawande, M.D., author of "The Checklist Manifesto" "Dr. Eric Topol is an extraordinary doctor. But he is also a remarkable communicator--one of the few top-flight scientists in medicine to be able to genuinely connect with the public. I have known and admired Dr. Topol for a long time. I recommend him highly." A. J. Jacobs, author of "My Life as an Experiment" and "The Year of Living Biblically" "Dr. Topol is both a leader of and perfect guide to this brave new health world." James Fowler, Professor of Medical Genetics and Political Science, UC San Diego, and author of "Connected" "Eric Topol is uniquely positioned to write such a timely and important book. He leads two institutions--one in genomics and one in wireless health--that will each play a huge role in transforming medicine in the twenty-first century. From this vantage point, he can see unifying themes that will underlie the coming revolution in population and personal health, and he communicates his vision with vibrant energy. Everyone will want to read this book." Clayton M. Christensen, Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School, and author of "The Innovator's Dilemma" "Eric Topol gives us an eye-opening look at what's possible in healthcare if people can mobilize to charge the status quo. "The Creative Destruction of Medicine "is simply remarkable." Mehmet Oz, M.D., Professor and Vice-Chair of Surgery, NY Presbyterian/Columbia University "Eric Topol outlines the creative destruction of medicine that must be led by informed consumers. Smart patients will push the many stakeholders in health to accelerate change as medicine adapts to a new world of information and technology." Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO of General Electric "Eric Topol has been a longtime innovator in healthcare. In "The Creative Destruction of Medicine," he citesthe big waves of innovation that will save healthcare for the future. Real healthcare reform has not yet begun, but it will. "The Creative Destruction of Medicine" lays out the path." Misha Angrist, Assistant Professor, Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, and author of "Here is a Human Being" "Eric Topol is that rare physician willing to challenge the orthodoxies of his guild. He recognizes that in the U.S., health care business-as-usual is unsustainable. But he does not despair. He bears witness to the rise of "Homo digitus "and the promise it holds to upend the inefficiencies and dysfunction so entrenched in clinical medicine. "The Creative Destruction of Medicine "is a timely tour de force. It is a necessary heresy." George Church, Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School "What happens when the super-convergence of smart phones further combines with million-fold lower-cost genomics and diverse wearable sensors? The riveting answer leads compellingly to a call to activism--not only for medical care providers, but all patients and everyone looking for the next 'disruptive' economic revolution. This future is closer than most of us would have imagined before seeing it laid out so clearly. A must-read." J. Craig Venter, Chairman and President, J. Craig Venter Institute "Our sequencing of the human genome eleven years ago was the beginning of the individualized medicine revolution, a revolution that cannot happen without digitized personal phenotype information. Eric Topol provides a path forward using your digitized genome, remote sensing devices and social networking to place the educated at the center of medicine." Omar Ishrak, Chairman and CEO of Medtronic "Eric Topol provides an excellent and pragmatic view of the U.S. healthcare system from a patient's perspective. He then offers, through numerous examples, an exciting vision for the future ... when technology can be used to dramatically improve the quality of care and reduce cost at the same time. "The Creative Destruction of Medicine" is a highly informative and enjoyable book, which truly triggers the reader's imagination as to what is possible" Reed Tuckson, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs, UnitedHealth Group "Eric Topol has written an extraordinarily important book at just the right moment. Drawing upon a unique and impressive array of convergent expertise in medical research, clinical medicine, consumer and health technological advancements, and health policy, Dr. Topol opens the door for an essential discussion of old challenges viewed through an innovative lens. In the context of increasingly unaffordable health care costs, suboptimal quality of care delivery, a tsunami of preventable chronic illness, and new accountabilities for consumer's health choices and behaviors, this book helps all of us to think about solutions in new and exciting ways!" Juan Enriquez, Managing Director, Excel Venture Management, and author "As the Future Catches You" "Much of the wealth created over the last decades arose out of a brutal transition from ABC's to digital code. While creating some of the world's most valuable companies, this process also upended whole industries and even countries. Now medicine, health care, and life sciences are undergoing the same transition. And, again, enormous wealth will be created and destroyed. This book is a road map of what is about to happen." Elias Zerhouni, M.D., President, Global R&D, Sanofi and former director, National Institutes of Health "If we keep practicing medicine as we know it today, healthcare will become an unbearable burden. We are in a real race between healthcare innovation and the resistance to change of the medical system. In a comprehensive and well researched tour de force, Eric Topol, always a clear and uncompromising thought leader of his generation, challenges us to imagine the revolutionary potential of a world where medical information no longer belongs to a few and can be automatically collected from the many to greatly improve healthcare for all. This is a must read!" Kirkus Reviews "Topol weaves useful knowledge about how to evaluate the choices open to patients into this exciting account of the revolutionary changes we can expect."
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