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What if your cell phone could detect cancer cells circulating in your blood or warn you of an imminent heart attack? Mobile wireless digital devices, including smartphones and tablets with seemingly limitless functionality, have brought about radical changes in our lives, providing hyper-connectivity to social networks and cloud computing. But the digital world has hardly What if your cell phone could detect cancer cells circulating in your blood or warn you of an imminent heart attack? Mobile wireless digital devices, including smartphones and tablets with seemingly limitless functionality, have brought about radical changes in our lives, providing hyper-connectivity to social networks and cloud computing. But the digital world has hardly pierced the medical cocoon.  Until now. Beyond reading email and surfing the Web, we will soon be checking our vital signs on our phone. We can already continuously monitor our heart rhythm, blood glucose levels, and brain waves while we sleep. Miniature ultrasound imaging devices are replacing the icon of medicine—the stethoscope. DNA sequencing, Facebook, and the Watson supercomputer have already saved lives. For the first time we can capture all the relevant data from each individual to enable precision therapy, prevent major side effects of medications, and ultimately to prevent many diseases from ever occurring. And yet many of these digital medical innovations lie unused because of the medical community’s profound resistance to change. In The Creative Destruction of Medicine, Eric Topol—one of the nation’s top physicians and a leading voice on the digital revolution in medicine—argues that radical innovation and a true democratization of medical care are within reach, but only if we consumers demand it. We can force medicine to undergo its biggest shakeup in history. This book shows us the stakes—and how to win them.


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What if your cell phone could detect cancer cells circulating in your blood or warn you of an imminent heart attack? Mobile wireless digital devices, including smartphones and tablets with seemingly limitless functionality, have brought about radical changes in our lives, providing hyper-connectivity to social networks and cloud computing. But the digital world has hardly What if your cell phone could detect cancer cells circulating in your blood or warn you of an imminent heart attack? Mobile wireless digital devices, including smartphones and tablets with seemingly limitless functionality, have brought about radical changes in our lives, providing hyper-connectivity to social networks and cloud computing. But the digital world has hardly pierced the medical cocoon.  Until now. Beyond reading email and surfing the Web, we will soon be checking our vital signs on our phone. We can already continuously monitor our heart rhythm, blood glucose levels, and brain waves while we sleep. Miniature ultrasound imaging devices are replacing the icon of medicine—the stethoscope. DNA sequencing, Facebook, and the Watson supercomputer have already saved lives. For the first time we can capture all the relevant data from each individual to enable precision therapy, prevent major side effects of medications, and ultimately to prevent many diseases from ever occurring. And yet many of these digital medical innovations lie unused because of the medical community’s profound resistance to change. In The Creative Destruction of Medicine, Eric Topol—one of the nation’s top physicians and a leading voice on the digital revolution in medicine—argues that radical innovation and a true democratization of medical care are within reach, but only if we consumers demand it. We can force medicine to undergo its biggest shakeup in history. This book shows us the stakes—and how to win them.

30 review for The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care

  1. 5 out of 5

    E-patient Dave

    I come from high tech, where there are zillions of innovations, few get any traction, and a small number change the world. This book is by far the best marriage I've seen of potent innovator thinking with medicine, social media, and information science. A lot of people are going to say this book is wacky, because it hits the nail on the head in a way that busts the paradigm into pieces. And that's the point: "creative destruction" is a somewhat disturbing term - the point (IMO) isn't destruction I come from high tech, where there are zillions of innovations, few get any traction, and a small number change the world. This book is by far the best marriage I've seen of potent innovator thinking with medicine, social media, and information science. A lot of people are going to say this book is wacky, because it hits the nail on the head in a way that busts the paradigm into pieces. And that's the point: "creative destruction" is a somewhat disturbing term - the point (IMO) isn't destruction per se, it's more what I call "dis-integration" ... the valuable parts of an industry coming apart at the seams, in a way that enables creating new solutions to people's needs. I witnessed this in my first industry, typesetting, when desktop publishing came along. Before, several valuable assets were only available bundled into integrated systems: to publish anything fancier than typewriter, you needed a typesetting machine (tens of thousands of dollars), fonts ($100+ each), typesetting terminals (there were no PCs then), chemical processors.... with desktop publishing you have fonts on your computer, a printer that can print them (in a vast range of prices & quality), etc etc. All those value elements got blown apart into pieces and reassembled - creative destruction. But the book's not just about that - a view like that isn't useful if you don't know the flippin' field, because Creative Destruction is only possible if you know where the value actually is. He does. As one example, the whole idea of a large-scale clinical trial is pretty much doomed, long-term, because as we continue to identify *specifically* what's wrong in an individual patient, it'll be harder and harder to find lots of exact match patients for a trial, and besides, a large-scale trial with 70% efficacy just shows that such trials are a shotgun approach: you select a bunch of patients without knowing which ones are really a good fit for your treatment. An educated guess. The smarter medicine gets, the less useful clinical trials will be. I could go on for ages, but as I said at the top, IMO this is the smartest most dead-on book I've seen that blends innovator thinking with medicine.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alistair

    An MD discovers the iPhone, gets completely carried away and declares it will disrupt most of the field of medicine (and gives a well-received TED talk along the way). Maybe I exaggerate slightly, but not much. The actual medical content was interesting to a software guy; the technical projections were much more naive.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    This book has a lot of promise but I found myself getting bogged down and skipping around after 80 pages or so. The chapters on biology and anatomy felt like I was reading a textbook. At times this book is written more for a doubting medical professional than a patient. A lot of good info in here but it needs the Malcolm Gladwell touch. The doctor has passion and I'd want him taking care of me but I couldn't "eat" the whole thing. This book has a lot of promise but I found myself getting bogged down and skipping around after 80 pages or so. The chapters on biology and anatomy felt like I was reading a textbook. At times this book is written more for a doubting medical professional than a patient. A lot of good info in here but it needs the Malcolm Gladwell touch. The doctor has passion and I'd want him taking care of me but I couldn't "eat" the whole thing.

  4. 5 out of 5

    loafingcactus

    The book gives you all the pieces that will lead to a medical revolution. The revolution won't occur in hospitals or in legacy research tracks. You don't reposition yourself into a revolution. It also describes some aspects of how traditional medicine will be shifted in parallel with the revolution and what you can do to avoid being harmed by traditional medicine as it currently exists. For avoiding harm, I would suggest The Last Well Person: How to Stay Well Despite the Health-Care System for mo The book gives you all the pieces that will lead to a medical revolution. The revolution won't occur in hospitals or in legacy research tracks. You don't reposition yourself into a revolution. It also describes some aspects of how traditional medicine will be shifted in parallel with the revolution and what you can do to avoid being harmed by traditional medicine as it currently exists. For avoiding harm, I would suggest The Last Well Person: How to Stay Well Despite the Health-Care System for more. I find this book a little muddled by Topol's attraction to Quantified Self, which I find too easily aligns with traditional over-treatment and medicalization of health. The muddle extends to drawing a line between the repurposing and the revolution. However to criticize it as muddled is a little bit of back room quarterbacking since Topol is one of the first people to develop these ideas and they have been so much further developed in just the two years since the book was published that it is easy to forget that Topol was plowing totally new ground with this work.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ben Z.

    This book was though-provoking. The author believes that healthcare is reaching a critical convergence with technology that will revolutionize how patients are treated, how doctors provide care, how drugs are developed, and how people maintain their health. Low-cost genomics, hand-held medical imaging devices, wireless sensors, cloud computing, social networking, and telemedicine are all examples of the rapidly evolving technologies transforming healthcare. These technologies will lead to the "d This book was though-provoking. The author believes that healthcare is reaching a critical convergence with technology that will revolutionize how patients are treated, how doctors provide care, how drugs are developed, and how people maintain their health. Low-cost genomics, hand-held medical imaging devices, wireless sensors, cloud computing, social networking, and telemedicine are all examples of the rapidly evolving technologies transforming healthcare. These technologies will lead to the "digitizing" of a patient, resulting in personalized long-term care model that is vastly more effective and cost-effective. Real healthcare reform will be brought about by technology, not legislation. The author writes from his perspective as a practicing MD, resulting in read that gets "clinical" and long-winded in parts. Regardless, the book is required reading for those interested in the intersection of technology and medicine and how it could radically change the future.

  6. 5 out of 5

    James

    Current, predictive and a great business opportunity. Idiopathic therapies based on gnomic results. 4 years ago at the company I work for I was show how cancer is detected in cells. At that time you would see a spike indicating cancer and then they would seek out the matching therapy based on defined processes. However cancer and many other illnesses with their many mutations now requires very personalized medicines at times to be effective. DNA sequencing of the person is showing a better way a Current, predictive and a great business opportunity. Idiopathic therapies based on gnomic results. 4 years ago at the company I work for I was show how cancer is detected in cells. At that time you would see a spike indicating cancer and then they would seek out the matching therapy based on defined processes. However cancer and many other illnesses with their many mutations now requires very personalized medicines at times to be effective. DNA sequencing of the person is showing a better way as we head towards very specific DNA therapies to fix issues (Maybe I'm generalizing and taking a big leap here as I think this is a great step forward and this book helped me see this). This is a big step forward from the current marginalized benefits occurring with population based medicines. Society has a chance to really see changes in how medicine focuses on the person and realizes that each person is different.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jack Reifenberg

    I appreciate Topol’s criticisms against the status quo in medicine. Makes me wonder how I’ll fare if I face similar challenges. It’s fun to be idealistic from the outside but who knows what’s going to happen once I’m really a cog in the machine. I also wonder how he’d react to Theranos, given all of chapters 7-9.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Fares

    Having been published in 2012, content and some points are already out of date. This speaks to the fast pace of developments, yet not fast enough (!) as medical advancement still lags quite a bit behind so many other fields!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tiago

    Here is an interesting book by Eric Topol, a renowned cardiologist with a social network presence (I discovered him on Twitter). He starts with a critique of the population-based medicine paradigm and how medicine is resistant to change. Topol than states the case of a digitized human being, which is essentially representing the patient using data from heterogenous sources such as wireless sensors (from smart phones and smart watches, to patches and so on), genomics, imaging, and electronic medi Here is an interesting book by Eric Topol, a renowned cardiologist with a social network presence (I discovered him on Twitter). He starts with a critique of the population-based medicine paradigm and how medicine is resistant to change. Topol than states the case of a digitized human being, which is essentially representing the patient using data from heterogenous sources such as wireless sensors (from smart phones and smart watches, to patches and so on), genomics, imaging, and electronic medical records. This digitized patient will lead to a personalized/patient-centered medicine, changing drastically the current paradigm. That's the reason of the title 'Creative Destruction', which is a famous expression coined by Joseph Schumpeter. The book sometimes get too technical and it focuses a lot on genomics (one of the author's favorite topics). For someone outside the medical sciences like me it is a bit difficult to keep track with all the terms.

  10. 5 out of 5

    CatReader

    For a book written in 2012, this is an insightful look at how medicine is currently being practiced in 2020. Specifically, the sections about genome sequencing and other genetic testing (pharmacogenetics, etc.) that must have seemed fantastical and way out-of-reach to the average consumer in 2012 are now becoming increasingly ubiquitous and affordable in 2020. Telemedicine is picking up more and more marketshare, though a global pandemic that Dr. Topol couldn't have foreseen has been a huge driv For a book written in 2012, this is an insightful look at how medicine is currently being practiced in 2020. Specifically, the sections about genome sequencing and other genetic testing (pharmacogenetics, etc.) that must have seemed fantastical and way out-of-reach to the average consumer in 2012 are now becoming increasingly ubiquitous and affordable in 2020. Telemedicine is picking up more and more marketshare, though a global pandemic that Dr. Topol couldn't have foreseen has been a huge driver of that. However, this book shows many signs of being dated -- many companies mentioned are now bankrupt, and the discussion of privacy seems a bit naive as well, especially in this maturing age of the Internet of Things and machine learning (which Dr. Topol would delve more fully into in his 2015 book The Patient Will See You Now, and even more so in his 2019 book Deep Medicine, both of which I'd recommend over this one for a for someone who wants to read one of Dr. Topol's books).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Karel Baloun

    Outstanding objective book predicting key aspects of a medical revolution this decade -- individualized, proactive wellness, led by people and distributed sensors and data rather than professional medical organizations. Positive and practical, far reaching and meticulously researched. Topol deserves admiration from pivoting from traditional cardiology (where he was well positioned) to leading a technological revolution towards a more humane and effective medical industry. Also gives medical profe Outstanding objective book predicting key aspects of a medical revolution this decade -- individualized, proactive wellness, led by people and distributed sensors and data rather than professional medical organizations. Positive and practical, far reaching and meticulously researched. Topol deserves admiration from pivoting from traditional cardiology (where he was well positioned) to leading a technological revolution towards a more humane and effective medical industry. Also gives medical professionals an inspiring vision for how their industry can evolve to lead the way, from the current situation where ossified curricula and resistance to even medical records result in medical mistakes being the 3rd largest cause of death in the US and new innovations taking an average of 17 years to reaching the median clinician.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    Eric Topol has created a compelling vision of technology enabled individualized medicine. I had the opportunity to talk with the president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, an oncologist, a few years back, who envisioned both doctor and patient receiving genetic profiles to highlight risks and targeted therapies. He, like Topol, sees the future of medicine as democratized information at the sub-genetic level guiding effective therapies. Technology is central to amassing huge amounts of data Eric Topol has created a compelling vision of technology enabled individualized medicine. I had the opportunity to talk with the president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, an oncologist, a few years back, who envisioned both doctor and patient receiving genetic profiles to highlight risks and targeted therapies. He, like Topol, sees the future of medicine as democratized information at the sub-genetic level guiding effective therapies. Technology is central to amassing huge amounts of data and simulating individual responses. Match.com on high speed rails.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Benassi

    Interesting overview on the convergence of wireless sensors, genomics, imaging, and medical records. Understanding how the fields of biology, physiology, and anatomy will technologically overlap presents an exciting opportunity for creative disruption. Overall, cool ideas-- but it felt a bit fragmented and idea-flow was difficult to follow at points

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marta Hauenstein

    Thesis: Technologies and methods are (becoming) available to transform medicine from a system where doctors diagnose and treat issues according to their understanding of “standard” human functionality into a science that can identify exactly what is causing a problem in a particular individual and either prevent it or treat it accurately. With or without the doctors. This development is evident across the life science value chain, from new R&D methods, through diagnostics, better understanding o Thesis: Technologies and methods are (becoming) available to transform medicine from a system where doctors diagnose and treat issues according to their understanding of “standard” human functionality into a science that can identify exactly what is causing a problem in a particular individual and either prevent it or treat it accurately. With or without the doctors. This development is evident across the life science value chain, from new R&D methods, through diagnostics, better understanding of how humans function at a molecular level, availability of genetics and -omics data, electronic tracking functions, patient access to information, etc. This process will be accelerated by increased level of information among patients, who will demand individual-specific treatment. Interesting and well-founded analysis. Like any work that goes into too much detail about the current state of technology, this book (written almost 10 years ago) is already a bit out of date, but many of the ideas and predictions are very much in evidence today.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Linda Christopher

    I was diagnosed with herpes 4 years ago, the doctor said there is no possible cure for the virus. But I never gave up hope of getting cured. I have been living with it, taking acyclovir to prevent outbreaks. I have been doing everything possible to get cured, so I never stopped doing research about finding a cure, I came across testimonies of people getting cured by Dr. Kham herbal medicine. I contacted him through his website: herbal-dr-kham.jimdosite.com , we talked on the phone and I discover I was diagnosed with herpes 4 years ago, the doctor said there is no possible cure for the virus. But I never gave up hope of getting cured. I have been living with it, taking acyclovir to prevent outbreaks. I have been doing everything possible to get cured, so I never stopped doing research about finding a cure, I came across testimonies of people getting cured by Dr. Kham herbal medicine. I contacted him through his website: herbal-dr-kham.jimdosite.com , we talked on the phone and I discovered he was genuine. I gave it a try and got the medicine from him, took it as he has prescribed and i'm so happy to say i'm completely cured, i went back to my doctor to confirm it. It's so amazing, a thing of joy. Dr Kham herbal medicine is capable of curing HSV 1&2 completely. contact him today Email: [email protected]

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marks54

    This book presents a tour of "Medicine" today with a focus on how the provision of health care and related services from health sciences (pharma and devices) are being influenced by the advent of digital technology - taken to include both digital developments in information technology as well as the reconfiguration of medical knowledge and practice around genomics, genetics, and related fields. The author is an accomplished cardiologist who is also an active researcher and very knowledgeable abo This book presents a tour of "Medicine" today with a focus on how the provision of health care and related services from health sciences (pharma and devices) are being influenced by the advent of digital technology - taken to include both digital developments in information technology as well as the reconfiguration of medical knowledge and practice around genomics, genetics, and related fields. The author is an accomplished cardiologist who is also an active researcher and very knowledgeable about the developments covered in the book. The book is well written and generally does a good job of translating some heavy technical materials into terms that readers have a better chance of understanding - although stretches of the book are rough sledding for non biomed researchers. The book is uneven but on the whole is very effective. I am convinced that technological change is radically altering the organization and practice of medicine, that these changes are becoming more pronounced and influential with the passage of time, and that these changes may lead to "better" health care. So far, so good. The book has limitations, however. The introductory chapter overdoes that scope of technological change and comes across as trying to sweep the reader of his/her feet with the extent of change and the vision of the author. There were lots of treatments like this during the Internet book around 2000 and they were all overblown, even if one grants the truly amazing extent of changes that occur. When the book moves into more detail on genetic research, applications of the human genome developments (as well as the other "omes"), and how all of this has affected doctors, patients, treatments, medical education, and the like, the book takes off and is hugely informative. In addition, the discussion of the impact of genetic research on pharmacology is astonishing and caught me by surprise - and I try to follow these things. A point of perspective that is worth noting concerns the emphasis of Topel's book on individualized rather than general population based medicine. The idea is that we should be looking towards a future where everyone's unique situation (really unique because of the complexity of individual genomes) as distinguished from a one size fits all approach. This approach makes very good sense in medicine but the individual versus global perspective is analogous to the distinction in technology between the basic internet on the one hand and localized information networks facilitated by GPS positioning data on the other. This reminds you of the customization that was featured in the movie "Minority Report". The focus on individualization in both information technology and health care is how technology and medicine are linked in the book. The impact really hit home with me personally given that within the past year, I had a direct experience with myself and family members and issues of genetics and surgery that brought these issues to light. The book resonates well with what I had spent the past year trying to decipher in the current health care situation. The case is not made, however, for all of these developments leading to better health care. It is not clear that all the diagnostics help outcomes comparable to their costs. It is not clear that incorporating knowledge of ones genetic make up and special conditions changes the treatment one receives. In some cases, yes, but in most others it is dubious. Even knowing ones full genetic makeup and conditions is clearly a mixed blessing - at least to date. The author raises these points but the emphasis is still on the brave new world arriving as we watch. Another issue not covered in the book is that possibility that much of our health care dilemma is not inherently technological at all. For example, much time is spent on how to produce electronic heath records systems and the benefits such systems can bring. However, one of the biggest problems working against the development of a technologically superior uniform records system is that hospitals still need to maintain parallel records to comply with state and Federal requirements, which makes the resulting records systems remain complex and non-integrated. At the same time, many of the critical problems of American health care are more political and ideological than technological. Anybody doubting this can take stock of the going on four year battle surrounding current legislation on US Health Care reform. Technology is often not the issue. At the same time, many of the technological changes raised in the book fall into the category of infrastructure - and the prospects for significant infrastructure investments in the current fiscal and monetary environment are doubtful. In terms of biomedical and pharma research, it is just not clear how the results are to justify the expenses involved. Some amazing episodes around the linkage of genetics and pharmacology are noted but the problem remains -- how are these limited successes going to change the entire system. I have no doubt that incremental change will change the system, but it is not so clear that the result will be as salutary as the author suggests. One can hope, while at the same time trying to work through the more basic political dimensions of sorting out the extent to which health care is a private market, a public market, or some sort of hybrid. Overall, these sorts of book tend to oversell their cases, especially when compared to the actual research. This book does not - or at least not excessively. Overall, well worth the time.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    The topic of this book was intriguing, but I couldn't even make it through the entire thing. Topol ends the introduction with this: "This book is intended to arm consumers to move us forward." However, this has to be the least consumer-friendly book I've ever read. An average consumer would not be able to make it through the content. Furthermore, Topol does not put forth many new, thought-provoking ideas but simply summarizes ALL the recent examples he can find of technology and medicine interse The topic of this book was intriguing, but I couldn't even make it through the entire thing. Topol ends the introduction with this: "This book is intended to arm consumers to move us forward." However, this has to be the least consumer-friendly book I've ever read. An average consumer would not be able to make it through the content. Furthermore, Topol does not put forth many new, thought-provoking ideas but simply summarizes ALL the recent examples he can find of technology and medicine intersecting, being sure to point out his distinguished connections and achievements along the way.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mareike

    Eric Topol is one of the world's foremost experts on the impact digital advances and AI will have on medicine and I enjoyed his recent report as well as conference talks from him on advances. I think this book is a great first step for people to get acquainted with the developments that have poised medicine for a disruption - though parts of the medical establishment are being recalcitrant - and what this may mean. For me, personally, some things were new and interesting, but I also found the bo Eric Topol is one of the world's foremost experts on the impact digital advances and AI will have on medicine and I enjoyed his recent report as well as conference talks from him on advances. I think this book is a great first step for people to get acquainted with the developments that have poised medicine for a disruption - though parts of the medical establishment are being recalcitrant - and what this may mean. For me, personally, some things were new and interesting, but I also found the book a little repetitive in places. I am looking forward to reading 'Deep Medicine' soon.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mikey Sklar

    Thank you Eric for showing us the future. I can't say enough good things about this book. If you are curious how wearable tech of n=1 will infiltrate the traditional shoot-by-the-hip world of clinical medicine then read this book! Thank you Eric for showing us the future. I can't say enough good things about this book. If you are curious how wearable tech of n=1 will infiltrate the traditional shoot-by-the-hip world of clinical medicine then read this book!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shiela Rozich

    Certainly a very thorough look into modern technology and how it it affecting medicine and health care. He doesn’t hesitate to throw in his opinions and feelings. Lots of words. Wonder how this book will read in five years.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bruno Konieczny

    Written years ago, but 'right on the money' ... Written years ago, but 'right on the money' ...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andres

    An interesting book about how recent and still evolving technology can make a revolutionary change in the way medicine is taught, developed, practiced, and delivered. The author does a great job of quickly surveying the current technological norms, how relatively quickly they came about, and how their tapped and untapped powers have and will continue to become an important tool in the future of medicine, both for doctors and patients. The technologies discussed are half medicine and half access An interesting book about how recent and still evolving technology can make a revolutionary change in the way medicine is taught, developed, practiced, and delivered. The author does a great job of quickly surveying the current technological norms, how relatively quickly they came about, and how their tapped and untapped powers have and will continue to become an important tool in the future of medicine, both for doctors and patients. The technologies discussed are half medicine and half access to information (meaning access to the internet, social networks, and smartphones). He figures that the increased ability to record patient data by means of sensors, combined with the ever more refined process of sequencing genomes, will lead to better matching patients to the drugs and procedures they need. This is in contrast to current practices, where drugs are approved for the millions that will in reality only help a few thousand and maybe hurt the rest, all approved by trials and tests that more often than not manipulate efficacy data to improve their chances for FDA acceptance. I really liked reading about all of this, and the author provides plenty of examples for new or potential technologies, citing the pros and cons of most everything. The only drawbacks to the book are the info-heavy paragraphs and chapters. There are a lot of dense statistical and/or dense techno-medico-jargon bumps in the road, especially in the "Biology" chapter. One other reviewer admits to having eyes glazing over at points, and that happened to me a lot (and I really like this stuff!). The problem is that a lot of it is delivered as punchlines to arguments about how great (or potentially great) this or that is (or might be). It lessens the impact greatly, unless you can understand everything at first blush. Taken as a whole, though, once you can see the big picture the author is painting, this is quite an exciting and eye opening book. A lot of the things that do exist are really neat, but maybe one too many times the author rhapsodizes about how great something is until you realize that he's talking about a technology that isn't around and won't be for quite some time. This happens a fair bit, actually, so be prepared to differentiate between ‘what is’ and ‘what might be’. All this digitizing of people’s genomes and medical information leads the author to next talk about digitizing medical records and making them more accessible to patients as well doctors outside a person’s health provider since portability will help a patient receive the most accurate treatment needed in case of emergency. While this process has already begun the author points out the growing pains that have yet to be solved. Topol’s ultimate argument is that all of this potential innovation won’t get off the ground as fast as it could if people/patients/consumers don’t actively push and pursue these technological avenues. After showing us what is he hopes people will become proactive and push for what is possible. The more information that can be collected about specific genes and drug interactions the more it will benefit everyone, and this kind of mass information will grow exponentially, and will become exponentially more useful (as one example). This is an informative book about the inevitable analog to digital change to medicine and health care. NB: I added and edited my initial terrible and incomplete review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Zhi Ling Tan

    i admired the zest and gusto behind the author's idea about harnessing big data to individualize healthcare. through the many examples listed, i was rather convinced by how the current practice of medicine could do with more precision and care, rather than going through the SOPs, checklist-style, based on the observation of selected key symptoms. However, I was rather disturbed by the argument that more data correlates to better healthcare. the assumptions made by the author were that only by do i admired the zest and gusto behind the author's idea about harnessing big data to individualize healthcare. through the many examples listed, i was rather convinced by how the current practice of medicine could do with more precision and care, rather than going through the SOPs, checklist-style, based on the observation of selected key symptoms. However, I was rather disturbed by the argument that more data correlates to better healthcare. the assumptions made by the author were that only by doing an overhaul to incorporate technology into every conceivable aspect of healthcare could we be able to better improve treatment effectiveness, and that knowing one's genomic sequence could enable direct treatment of the root cause. with my admittedly limited knowledge, i had limited ability to reconcile the 2 tracks that the author seemed to be driving at simultaneously - to zero in on specific genes that cause certain conditions in individuals (i.e., avoiding mass studies), and yet advocating a systemic approach by gathering as much data as possible, from as many people as possible as a form of reassurance against the unknown. perhaps there was some overconfidence exuded by the author in how human beings could digest a ginormous amount of data. nevertheless i do agree with him that some things are worth fighting for, such as how patients could equip themselves to minimize the information asymmetry between them and the doctors (thereby reducing agency problems). some things we take as they are, like regular scans and monitoring because we just feel good when under close surveillance by the healthcare team, but we should learn to question to what extent these cumbersome, and oftentimes costly, measures really lead to better treatments.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Liam

    As a person who was energized by the technological promises of the healthcare debate a few years ago, and as a software engineer who plans on developing healthcare-related software (this book was required reading for my department), I was really curious to see what this book had in store. The book seems to have two messages: changes are coming to healthcare, and we all need to do what we can to quicken these changes. I think the author did a fair job of convincing me of the former, and while I w As a person who was energized by the technological promises of the healthcare debate a few years ago, and as a software engineer who plans on developing healthcare-related software (this book was required reading for my department), I was really curious to see what this book had in store. The book seems to have two messages: changes are coming to healthcare, and we all need to do what we can to quicken these changes. I think the author did a fair job of convincing me of the former, and while I was already convinced of the latter, I don't think the book moved me too much in either direction in this case. It really helps if this is already a passion of yours. It seems like the author is one of a few people who understand both the complexities (and failures) of modern medicine in America as well as the technological advances happening both inside and outside this space that will "destroy" conventional practices. He speaks knowledgeably on both topics, but I have to say, my eyes glazed over while reading through the biology/anatomy chapters. The technology chapters however were really interesting for me to read. All in all, as someone who wants to help push the technology side to address the problems he mentions, this was an excellent read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Uwe Hook

    A great read. He navigates the space clearly and brings a huge wealth of personal experiences and anecdotes to the topics. All aspects of healthcare technology are addressed and he takes a broad perspective covering viewpoints of providers, payers, drug companies, docs and patients. His arguments are balanced and well articulated. Essential reading for anyone in the healthcare technology field. There is no doubt that the majority of the content will come to be, in time, given the massive pressur A great read. He navigates the space clearly and brings a huge wealth of personal experiences and anecdotes to the topics. All aspects of healthcare technology are addressed and he takes a broad perspective covering viewpoints of providers, payers, drug companies, docs and patients. His arguments are balanced and well articulated. Essential reading for anyone in the healthcare technology field. There is no doubt that the majority of the content will come to be, in time, given the massive pressures on the system right now. Two issues with the book. Firstly he goes into way too much detail with the genetic sequencing content and totally lost me for large swathes of the narrative. I don't feel this detailed examination is required....for lay people. And up to this point the content was high level. So this content didn't really flow. Secondly he repeats him self often and goes over the same ground over and over again. So with these two points in mind probably the book could have been shorter.

  26. 5 out of 5

    AGC

    Although this book is about how the current technology revolution is changing and will change healthcare, Topol still seems a bit behind. He writes about many cool gadgets, smartphone apps, the current research, and health databases, but not all of it. There's so much more out there that he does not mention as possible creative destructions. Topol focuses the most on individualized medicine, which almost requires that everyone undergo genomic sequencing, which he goes into some detail explaining Although this book is about how the current technology revolution is changing and will change healthcare, Topol still seems a bit behind. He writes about many cool gadgets, smartphone apps, the current research, and health databases, but not all of it. There's so much more out there that he does not mention as possible creative destructions. Topol focuses the most on individualized medicine, which almost requires that everyone undergo genomic sequencing, which he goes into some detail explaining about as well as the new technologies; he also pushes for genomics in medical schools. In time, this will be a great idea, as sequencing gets better. I think this book is ideal for the times we live in: another alternative about changing healthcare and keeping healthcare up to date with the technology. But as it seems with most healthcare writers, Topol projects it may take decades for the change to come. Hopefully it will be sooner.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Regan

    Overall a critical view of medicine today with an optimistic projection of the future. I'm sure in some areas his predictions will be spot on but in others I suspect he's dreaming. As I have Atul Gwande's new book Being Mortal on my bookshelf waiting to be read I felt like this book was surprisingly silent on end of life issues and even beyond that seemed to almost ignore the fact that for so much of what causes suffering in this world, the technology he was exploring will never have an answer. Overall a critical view of medicine today with an optimistic projection of the future. I'm sure in some areas his predictions will be spot on but in others I suspect he's dreaming. As I have Atul Gwande's new book Being Mortal on my bookshelf waiting to be read I felt like this book was surprisingly silent on end of life issues and even beyond that seemed to almost ignore the fact that for so much of what causes suffering in this world, the technology he was exploring will never have an answer. As much as the idea of continuous monitoring of our physical health will be beneficial there is a large patient population that won't take advantage of the simple tools we already have at our disposal. The area where I'm most optimistic (or perhaps most uninformed and this easily led along) is genomics - the idea that we can target the therapies we use based on genetic information is quite compelling.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    There were times as I went through this that I wondered whether the author might not have taken leave of his senses, but as it went along I think not. It is likely that many things will come about in ways quite different than Topol now envisions, and some will likely not take place at all. But, it seems quite likely that medical science, having only been taught in a scientific manner for little more than 110-120 years, will have quite a different next century than its last. Some of his ideas abo There were times as I went through this that I wondered whether the author might not have taken leave of his senses, but as it went along I think not. It is likely that many things will come about in ways quite different than Topol now envisions, and some will likely not take place at all. But, it seems quite likely that medical science, having only been taught in a scientific manner for little more than 110-120 years, will have quite a different next century than its last. Some of his ideas about linking us all together via a wireless network of body sensors make one cringe as it seems to imply we will all be living in our own rooms in the ever-present 'hospital' - scary thought, in a way. I note one reviewer who panned the work with something like, "Doctor finds internet - whoopee!" but that one sounded somewhat like sour grapes, and may even have been a doctor refusing to acknowledge huge changes in his/her field.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Kibbe

    A great overview of some of the cutting edge changes in health care technology that have the potential to considerably alter the way in which we deliver and practice medical care in the United States. Instead of being merely a techno-tour of medical technologies (as Topol himself words it) this book benefits from Topol's distinctive thesis that the technologies he surveys could lead to a paradigm shift in how medicine is currently practiced. While technical in some parts, Topol remains an access A great overview of some of the cutting edge changes in health care technology that have the potential to considerably alter the way in which we deliver and practice medical care in the United States. Instead of being merely a techno-tour of medical technologies (as Topol himself words it) this book benefits from Topol's distinctive thesis that the technologies he surveys could lead to a paradigm shift in how medicine is currently practiced. While technical in some parts, Topol remains an accessible writer that can be read by specialists and non-specialists alike. While I would have liked some more critical analysis of some of the technologies; that was not the purpose of this book. This book is aimed at starting important conversations about how we structure and deliver medicine in the 21st century, and as such, it is a great introduction.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cavin Balaster

    The book is a delightful and educational read written by an articulate, smart, and entertaining narrator. Topol presents the limitations within our current medical climate and proposes solutions. Stories of his, his family’s, and his patients experiences make for experiential and personal examples of the current deficits. The quandaries of each example are presented with proposed solutions, which really works to bring his ideas home leaving room for the reader to ponder the possibilities. Throug The book is a delightful and educational read written by an articulate, smart, and entertaining narrator. Topol presents the limitations within our current medical climate and proposes solutions. Stories of his, his family’s, and his patients experiences make for experiential and personal examples of the current deficits. The quandaries of each example are presented with proposed solutions, which really works to bring his ideas home leaving room for the reader to ponder the possibilities. Through this I found myself thinking of how these changes could occur rapidly with heightened public awareness. While some of the information he presents does not address some more recent findings, his reasoning is sound and quite brilliant. Topol presents these ideas with the experience, knowledge, and credentials to hopefully make a difference within our current medical system.

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