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The Patient Will See You Now

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The Patient Will See You Now

The Future of Medicine Is in Your Hands

Basic Books,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Smartphones and other technology put the patient in the health care driver’s seat.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


In this dizzying overview of how you can control your health destiny, cardiologist Eric Topol shows how the Internet and other technology are reshaping the world of health care. He argues that patients must have access to their medical data – which they own – and should become active participants in decisions that affect their own health care. They need to know their treatment options, including price. And health care providers should share anonymous medical data for society’s benefit. Doctors should step down from their all-knowing stance and become partners in a medical universe that centers less on them. Due to the quickly evolving nature of health care, the book inevitably contains outdated statements and prices. Still, getAbstract recommends Topol’s enthusiastic report as an eye-opener for patients, parents, insurers, health care providers and health care managers.


“Medicine Turned Upside Down”

Today, patients needn’t make appointments with any doctor. A patient could, for example, take a picture of a mole with a smartphone and evaluate it with a downloadable app. If a patient needs to see a physician, he or she can access the relevant charts and update any misinformation. This open access for all is part of the democratization of medical data.

On a recent flight, a traveler had chest pain. E-tools determined he was having a heart attack; the pilot landed at a nearby airport. Even with physicians on board, technology provided enough information about the passenger’s condition for the pilot to know what to do.

“The Rise of Smart Patients”

Many physicians don’t respond well to patients who know about their health issues. For more than 40 years, Jeanette Erdmann didn’t know what was causing her symptoms. Even as a toddler, she struggled to climb stairs. Her health declined as she attained her PhD. She used a ventilator nightly. At age 45, she researched her symptoms on Google and discovered that she had Ullrich muscular dystrophy. The Internet helped her identify her condition and connect to other people with similar...

About the Author

Eric Topol, MD, heads California’s Scripps Translational Science Institute.

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