The Creative Destruction of Medicine

Dr. Eric Topol has written an extraordinarily interesting book called The Creative Destruction of Medicine. As part of breaking down and remaking the profession, he uses cell phone technology to do medical imaging, and to allow patients to monitor their own blood sugar levels, vital signs, etc. What I find striking about this approach is that everyone uses cell phones–rich and poor, old and young. Using cell phone apps as the predominant means to obtain an EKG or an ultrasound would cuts billions of dollars from the macro cost of healthcare. As most of you know, MRIs, x-rays, EKGs, mammograms, colonoscopies and many other tests are often done as defensive medicine, as a way to protect the doctor and hospital from potential law suits should something go wrong. These extraneous tests amount to an expensive protection racket. 

Cell phones are also a very cool way to stay in touch with patients. If you can deliver patient test results via a cell phone or use the cell phone to enable a live EKG that can be shared with the patient during an office visit rather than sending the patients for an expensive test offsite, you have just made the practice of medicine more cost efficient and more patient-centric. If you don't have time to read the book, at least take a look at this video.