The smartphone as great healthcare leveler: Eric Topol

Eric Topol MD, cardiologist, Chief Medical Advisor for the rebooted (but so far quiet) AT&T ForHealth and Chief Academic Officer at Scripps Health, is no stranger to the ‘big statement’ and is well known as an advocate for all things mHealthy. For at least two years, he has been promoting the smartphone’s ‘equalizer’ capabilities in health not only via apps and ‘add ons’ but also as a storehouse or central repository for individual health information, including genetic screening, which can be transmitted onward to a practitioner, lab or PHR. Dr Topol’s ‘big statements’ were fully on display in his keynote at HealthLeaders’ CFO Exchange conference. A promoter of the ‘creative destruction of medicine’ (the title of his most recent book, WSJ article), he believes that everything from the office visit (virtualized) to lab tests (future add ons will essentially be labs-on-a chip able to analyze tiny blood samples) to ER visits to the tsunami of sensor-generated vital data will be democratized, using the smartphone as its nexus. Yet even he admits that ‘intermediate” technology such as Theranos micro-sample lab analysis units and Better’s nurse-practitioner healthcare guidance (we’ve dubbed ‘concierge medicine for the masses’) on multiple platforms will be in the short term the way most people will be introduced to these technologies. We should also consider the smartphone manufacturers themselves; if smartphones build in the tech to become clinical testers, enter FDA, CE and other regulatory entities. Do LG, Apple, Samsung really want or need to go there? (Note Qualcomm’s recent retreat from moving Qualcomm Life forward). HealthLeaders Media CFO Exchange

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