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.
Provocative and engrossing, The Patient Will See You Now is essential reading for anyone who thinks they deserve better health care. That is, for all of us.
About the Author
Eric Topol, MD, is a world-renowned cardiologist, Executive Vice-President of Scripps Research, founder of a new medical school and one of the top ten most cited medical researchers. The author of The Patient Will See You Now and The Creative Destruction of Medicine, he lives in La Jolla, CA.
"In his new book, The Patient Will See You Now, Topol expertly builds upon his earlier path-finding work and explores how smartphone adoption, big data, new digital monitors of medically relevant information streams, ubiquitous computing, and larger networks are all combining to revolutionize health care far beyond what most now expect-with the exciting promise of lower costs and higher quality simultaneously. Coming from a world-class physician with a unique perspective on the rapidly changing nature of medicine, Topol's prescription for patient empowerment is a must read."-Al Gore "Dr. Eric Topol is uniquely positioned to map out a new era of democratized medicine-a time when each individual will not only have immediate access to all of their own medical data, but even generate much of it and play a principal role in their healthcare." -Sanjay Gupta, M.D. "Dr. Eric Topol is a pioneer of the medicine of the future and the future is now! Read this book and empower yourself for total well-being." -Deepak Chopra
"Eric Topol has written a must-read manifesto for patients who feel helpless. Filled with knowledge and engaging stories, this book shows how you can harness technology to be the master of your medical care-or at least, a better partner for your doctor. I want Dr. Topol for my doctor." -Elisabeth Rosenthal, M.D., The New York Times "[A] groundbreaking book.... I think this book is revelatory and just plain smart."-Jim Cramer, CNBC's Mad Money "[Topol is] one of medicine's most innovative thinkers about the digital future.... [A] valuable contribution to a fascinating subject. Despite his digital predilections, Topol is a humane and sympathetic observer of the plight of patients in our highly dysfunctional health care system. We can only hope mobile devices will help them better navigate (or scroll) their way through this perilous terrain."-New York Times Book Review
"Dr. Eric Topol [is] one of the nation's leading thinkers on the future of medicine."-Newt Gingrich, Newsmax "Dr. Topol's overriding thesis is that the old days of 'doctor knows best' are as good as gone. No longer will doctors control medical data, treatment or profits. Instead, thanks to the newest science, humanity will finally achieve truly democratic health care."-New York Times "The Patient Will See You Now is full of innovative thinking.... This book is full of technical wizardry and intriguing questions about the nature - and the future - of diagnosing, monitoring and healing."-Perri Klass, Washington Post
"In The Patient Will See You Now, Eric Topol charts how digitisation is slowly transforming medicine. Most industries have already been digitised--the media, music, banking--but perhaps the most important transformation will be in medicine, which still resembles something from the middle ages. Your mobile phone, for example, will analyse your heart beat for possible heart disease. Your DNA will be used to create new therapies and cures. The 'tricorder' of Star Trek, which analyses your health by simply scanning your body, is coming."-Michio Kaku, The Guardian
"[Dr. Topol's] vision is compelling, combining an empowering view of technology with the recognition that medicine requires something more. The best physicians heal even when they can't cure, Dr. Topol notes, and 'there will never be algorithms, supercomputers, avatars or robots to pull that off.'"-Wall Street Journal "[Topol] does a terrific job of laying out the immense potential of smartphones and iMedicine technologies to democratize medicine like never before.... Topol's writing style makes it very accessible for the lay person without any 'dumbing down' that would be a turnoff to health professionals. This is a must read for anyone that cares about healthcare.... I can't think of a book that does a better job of projecting how the future of medicine will unfold and the critical role individuals will play in their own health (beyond the obvious)."-Dave Chase, Forbes.com
"It is rare to find a book that addresses quite technical topics so clearly, while interweaving stories about the variety of personalities who are shaping the field.... The book is both scholarly, supported by careful footnoting, and encyclopedic-nearly every recent development challenging traditional notions of medicine is carefully evaluated."-Health Affairs "The mantra defining the future of medicine, according to physician and author Eric Topol, is 'Nothing about me without me.' And in his new work, The Patient Will See You Now, that mantra animates a vision of medicine that, in everyday practice, is radically democratized and digitized, made accessible and dialogic through the use of handheld devices, open-access records, iDocs, physician avatars and more."-The Plain Dealer "[E]xtraordinarily thought-provoking and even provocative.... [T]he world [Topol] envisions is already exceedingly close to being realized; the writing on the wall is clear, unambiguous and unmistakable. This would be a great book to read sitting in a waiting room or during a stay at the hospital."-Bowling Green Daily News
"If you want to feel as exhilarated, and maybe even as disoriented, as Marty [McFly, the fictional character in the movie Back to the Future II] did after fast-forwarding to 2015, read Dr. Topol's new book, The Patient Will See You Now. Building on themes he introduced in his last book, The Creative Destruction of Medicine, Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, describes a health care world upended by digital technology - mostly to the benefit of patients. We wield dominion over this new world through our smart phones."-Susan Dentzer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Culture of Health blog "Cardiologist Topol argues for taking down the boundaries separating the medical and digital worlds, boldly exploring how patients can shape the medicine of the future."-Publishers Weekly
"With its many charts, graphs, and citations, this forward-thinking work will appeal to all educated health-care consumers."-Library Journal "[Topol] forecasts and engineers a new chapter in medicine.... [He] foresees a future medical world profoundly bolstered by wireless Internet, where 'each individual will have all their own medical data and the computing power to process it.'"-Booklist "A visionary physician predicts a technology-driven, patient-centered revolution in health care. In this work about the changes afoot in the world of medical care, Topol, in this natural follow-up to his previous book, demonstrates the combination of intelligence and ambition that is apparent in his successful medical career.... Not content to simply critique the current system (though he does so thoroughly and convincingly), the author strides optimistically into the future of health care.... An expertly detailed, precisely documented exploration of the 'power of information and individualization' in health care."-Kirkus Reviews
"In The Patient Will See You Now, Eric Topol unveils a visionary new world of patient empowerment through apps."-The Independent (UK) "[Topol] envisions a new era where we could have...access to our own medical data and the tools to heal ourselves without being completely at the mercy of our doctors.... With an impressively well-researched cache of examples, he explains the various gadgets attached to smartphones to carry out complex medical examinations that cost pennies, the potential for using the same cheap technology in poor countries where expensive medical equipment cannot be deployed and the potential for the opening up of patient data - which could then be shared across the world through the Internet to find diagnoses and trends on an unprecedented scale."-Winnipeg Free Press (Canada)
"In this extraordinary book, Topol has, in effect, provided us with a prescription for the future of medicine. He outlines the challenges of the current practice of medicine, and gives us a powerful vision of what can be changed-and how. Topol writes about the future more effectively than any physician or scientist that I know. If you want to know about what medicine looks like today, you should read this book. But if you want to know what medicine will look like tomorrow, then you must absolutely read this book." -Siddharta Muhkerjee, M.D., author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer "Eric Topol understands better than anybody else the growing battle between technology- and information-empowered patients on one side, and the incumbent medical establishment on the other. He also understands who should win it. Read this book and you'll join him in fighting the good fight."-Andrew McAfee, author of The Second Machine Age "Dr. Topol clearly captures the challenges and major disruptions occurring in medicine today. A revolution in healthcare is finely happening-one that will not only improve outcomes, but the individual patient's experience. This is a book that everyone needs to read. The practice and future of medicine are indeed being turned upside down."-John E. Kelly III, Director of Research at IBM
"The most extraordinary time for health care lies ahead. Dr. Topol presents a highly innovative vision and model for how, in an era of big data for each individual, medicine can be democratized."-Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts "Dr. Eric Topol has the vision for how smartphones will play a central part in health care in the coming years. Consumers will take on a powerful new role in medicine of the future - The Patient Will See You Now reveals to us how that will occur."-JK Shin, President and CEO of Samsung Electronics "It's your blood, your DNA, and your money; shouldn't the images, records, and data belong to you, too? Dr. Topol's deeply researched, powerfully presented arguments will ruffle feathers in the medical establishment-but he maintains that the new era of smartphones, apps, and tiny sensors is putting the patient in charge for the first time. And he's right." -David Pogue, founder of Yahoo Tech and host of PBS' "Nova"
"In The Patient Will See You Now, Dr. Eric Topol has helped to define a new era in healthcare when the role of the patient has evolved, empowered by the rapid adoption of digital health technologies. We fully agree with Dr. Topol's vision of the future of healthcare becoming increasingly seamless and giving consumers access to care-where, when, and at the value point they want." -Greg Wasson, CEO of Walgreens "We are seeing a sea-change in medicine, a time when the old paradigms no longer apply. As a physician and a scientist, Eric Topol has been both contributor and commentator to this revolution and therefore, one of the few people who can weave together and explain the stunning advances in seemingly unrelated fields. His personal voice, his ability to explain the most complex developments in science in a simple and engaging manner, and the clarity of his vision of the future make this compelling reading. I couldn't put this book down and I learned so much. It has changed my perspective of what is to come." -Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone
"Eric Topol's book focuses us on the most important development in health care today: putting the patient at the center of everything. This is the pathway to the most effective and efficient innovation, development and reform of health care practices, products and policies globally."-Alex Gorski, CEO of Johnson & Johnson "I have experienced Dr. Topol's healing touch as my personal physician after a 99% heart blockage, in his capacity as cardiology advisor to Men's Health magazine's 12 million readers, and as the visionary author of The Creative Destruction of Medicine. With The Patient Will See You Now, he's extending his healing powers where they'll do the most good: to the patients themselves. Book an appointment to read it now, and you'll save yourself a lot of copays later."-Peter Moore, Editor of Men's Health magazine