The Patient Will See You Now | Eric J. Topol

Summary of: The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine is in Your Hands
By: Eric J. Topol

Introduction

In ‘The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine is in Your Hands’, Eric J. Topol presents a compelling vision of a future where smartphones and big data play pivotal roles in revolutionizing the field of medicine. The book highlights how technological advances will make it possible for patients to diagnose themselves effectively, gain better access to health information, and make more informed decisions about their treatments. This summary explores the shifts in power dynamics between doctors and patients, and how technologies like human GIS and big data will pave the way for better, more personalized health treatments.

Smartphones’ Potential Impact on Medicine

Smartphones have already revolutionized several aspects of our lives, and they are now set to transform the healthcare industry. With a mobile connection accessible to 95% of the population, smartphones will soon make autonomous medicine a reality. An app like SkinVision already allows us to send photos of skin lesions to a doctor, who can diagnose whether it’s benign or not. In addition, with the help of powerful microscopic scans, people can soon scan themselves for certain types of bacteria, including tuberculosis. Beyond diagnosis, smartphones also have the potential to enhance public health in countries with limited access to healthcare professionals. Even non-smartphones can make an impact by encouraging people to check for diseases like HIV/AIDS. Gene Radar, a tiny chip that plugs into a mobile device, analyses a drop of blood or saliva for tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV, and is ten times cheaper than alternatives. Smartphones represent the future of healthcare, enabling people to take charge of their own health and reduce healthcare costs.

Empowering Patients Through Genetic Testing

In the past, patients have been expected to blindly follow their doctors’ orders without question. However, as technology advances and individuals gain more access to their own genetic information, patients will have more power in making informed medical decisions. The American Medical Association’s Code of Ethics reinforces the belief that physicians have complete control over a patient’s treatment, but this will soon change. Genetic testing, like what Angelina Jolie did to determine her high risk for breast and ovarian cancer, will become more accessible and publicized, further empowering patients to take control of their health. As Hippocrates once said, physicians should conceal information from patients for their own good. Now, the opposite is becoming true as knowledge and information become more widely available.

The Future of Healthcare

A technological revolution is transforming the healthcare industry, making it more affordable, accessible, and convenient for patients. Mobile technology, such as virtual health-care services, remote monitoring, conference calling, and smart pillboxes, is enabling patients to consult with physicians, monitor their health from home, and reduce the need for hospital stays. The reduction in hospital stays is already happening and is expected to continue, leading to cost savings for patients. In addition to the cost savings, smartphone apps like Castlight and PokitDok are increasing transparency in medical costs, making it easier for patients to compare prices and make informed decisions about their healthcare. The future of healthcare is here, and it’s more patient-centric than ever before.

Mapping the Human Body

With the latest technological advancements, creating a medical Google Maps for the human body is within reach. This Graphic Information System would feature multiple layers of vital information, including physiology, genetics, and anatomy on one digital map. While physiological data is easier to collect and monitor using wearable technology, the genetic component is more complex as only 90% of human DNA has been sequenced. It has, however, become affordable to get your genome sequenced. Advancements are still needed in genetic studies to create detailed genomic layers in the human GIS. Nonetheless, this breakthrough could revolutionize healthcare, providing doctors with a comprehensive understanding of a patient’s medical history and needs.

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