“The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine is in Your Hands” by Eric Topol
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.
The essential guide by one of America’s leading doctors to how digital technology enables all of us to take charge of our health
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.
“Augmented Health(care): the End of the Beginning” by Lucien Engelen
Healthcare has been subject to waves of change in the past centuries when developments came together. We are on the brink of a new wave right now. This book is about the digital transformation that healthcare is facing.
Everything changes, and we change with it. The world is changing, society is changing, technology is changing, and so health(care) is. And it does so at ever increasing speeds. Platforms like Facebook, Youtube, Spotify, and Amazon have entered our life and are here to stay. Many of these platforms did not exist 15 years ago, and some of them will no longer exist 10 years from now. Healthcare apps for smartphones, portals and big corporate electronic health record (EHR) systems struggle to adapt to a new reality where algorithms and platform thinking emerges. Where patients are in control of their own personal data. And where everything is INTERconnected and traditional healthcare systems (still) are just INTRAconnected. They will enter the ‘End of Life’ phase of their current product cycle.
New players like Apple, Amazon, and Google (Verily) first explored the healthcare scene and now aggressively fight for (the data of) patients, offering a consumer-friendly user interface and removing the friction that the traditional silo-structured health-care industry has been reluctant to address. Meanwhile, these tech-titans create interconnectivity “by design” and on a global scale.
Healthcare has been subject to waves of change in the past centuries when developments came together. We are on the brink of a new wave right now. Although we all want to progress and we need more sustainable health(care) to cope with societal challenges such as aging populations, we also face a daily struggle with implementation of new tools. In this daily struggle important issues like workload, reimbursement, policies, culture, knowledge, and information are all roadblocks in the way to a gentle transition. We need to remove these roadblocks and change the way we educate and train health(care) professionals, change the way we pay for health services, and change how we measure and research digital health(care).
If you work in health(care), this is your update on the “future”. This book is about the digital transformation that healthcare is facing. It’s not a prediction, blueprint nor is it a manual. But it is giving some insights on what is happening to health(care) and how you might best prepare for the future that’s coming. It addresses all levels: physicians, nurses, patients, IT, board members & governments.
“The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age” by Robert Wachter
While modern medicine produces miracles, it also delivers care that is too often unsafe, unreliable, unsatisfying, and impossibly expensive. For the past few decades, technology has been touted as the cure for all of healthcare’s ills.
But medicine stubbornly resisted computerization – until now. Over the past five years, thanks largely to billions of dollars in federal incentives, healthcare has finally gone digital. Yet once clinicians started using computers to actually deliver care, it dawned on them that something was deeply wrong. Why were doctors no longer making eye contact with their patients? How could one of America’s leading hospitals give a teenager a 39-fold overdose of a common antibiotic, despite a state-of-the-art computerized prescribing system? How could a recruiting ad for physicians tout the absence of an electronic medical record as a major selling point?
Logically enough, we’ve pinned the problems on clunky software, flawed implementations, absurd regulations, and bad karma. It was all of those things, but it was also something far more complicated. And far more interesting…
Written with a rare combination of compelling stories and hard-hitting analysis by one of the nation’s most thoughtful physicians, The Digital Doctor examines healthcare at the dawn of its computer age. It tackles the hard questions, from how technology is changing care at the bedside to whether government intervention has been useful or destructive. And it does so with clarity, insight, humor, and compassion. Ultimately, it is a hopeful story.
“We need to recognize that computers in healthcare don’t simply replace my doctor’s scrawl with Helvetica 12,” writes the author Dr. Robert Wachter. “Instead, they transform the work, the people who do it, and their relationships with each other and with patients. Sure, we should have thought of this sooner. But it’s not too late to get it right.”
This riveting book offers the prescription for getting it right, making it essential reading for everyone – patient and provider alike – who cares about our healthcare system.