For many, healthcare is a complicated, frustrating and expensive maze.  Time with physicians is carefully metered out, and often the road to a conclusive diagnosis and a successful treatment seems unnecessarily lengthy and costly.

the patient will see you now book coverIn 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 always 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. 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, he believes the result—better, cheaper, and more human health care—will be worth it.

Eric Topol TED Talk - The Wireless Future of Medicine

Eric Topol large formatEric J. Topol, MD, (born 1954) is an American cardiologist, geneticist, and digital medicine researcher. Before moving to the Scripps Institute in 2006, Topol served as chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic (1991-2005) and founded the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. He currently serves as Director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California. He also serves as the Chief Academic Officer for Scripps Health, is a professor of Genomics at The Scripps Research Institute, and a Senior Consultant at the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases at Scripps Clinic. He is editor-in-chief of Medscape and In 2012 he published a book called The Creative Destruction of Medicine which examined the impact of both the genomic and wireless revolutions on the health care system.

The book is a must read for those yearning for a better healthcare system, with more participation in and control over the direction of their medical care.

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