The Future of Medicine is in Your Hands

September 22, 2021

Dr. Eric Topol recently presented the McKenna Healthcare Management lecture at Arizona State University to an intrigued audience. Below are a few points from his talk, his books and/or online. He is truly on the forefront of healthcare innovative thinking.

  • The U.S. government has been preoccupied with health care 'reform,' but this refers to improving access and insurance coverage and has little or nothing to do with innovation. As a nation we rank 37th in the world for healthcare outcomes.
  • The U. S. spent $3.2 trillion dollars on healthcare in 2015, $1 trillion was on hospitals and $1 trillion (almost 1/3) was waste. One example is mammograms, for the 5 women out of 10,000 in their 50s who receive a valid diagnosis of breast cancer, there are 60% false positives causing fear and additional testing.
  • The digitization of medicine will revolutionize care. One day soon, the data from the patient’s wrist device and smartphone will be added to their own personal cloud of data, so the doctor can factor that in with all their other healthcare information. Real time data will enable people to make better choices.
  • Seeing your glucose every minute on your phone, it really changes your lifestyle. You ask yourself, 'Do I really need that piece of cake? No, because I don't want to stress out my pancreas.'
  • Where today people surf the Web and check their e-mail on their cell phones, tomorrow they will be checking their vital signs.
  • The best way to cut the ever-increasing costs of health care will be to provide cheap smartphones with Internet service to those who otherwise could not afford to buy them.
  • He identified many devices, apps and ideas of how healthcare can be made more efficient with technology, for ex. sleep studies that require an overnight hospital visit at a cost of roughly $4,000-$10,000 can be done at home by wearing a reusable ring.
  • Portable devices and apps send data to doctors, use of telemedicine, patient portals, etc. enable patients to make better choices and improve efficiency, instead of wasting time on unnecessary office visits.
  • Technology can read millions of scans accurately per day, improving the time for a patient to get results and saving millions of dollars annually.
  • Artificial intelligence can detect suicide and cancers better than the doctor.

Eric Topol, M.D. is professor of genomics and holds the Scripps endowed chair in innovative medicine. He is the director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute. Previously, he led the Cleveland Clinic to its #1 ranking in heart care, started a new medical school, and led key discoveries in heart disease. I encourage you to read his two fabulous books: The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care and The Patient Will See You Now.

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