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The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care
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The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  956 ratings  ·  70 reviews
What if your cell phone could detect cancer cells circulating in your blood or warn you of an imminent heart attack? Mobile wireless digital devices, including smartphones and tablets with seemingly limitless functionality, have brought about radical changes in our lives, providing hyper-connectivity to social networks and cloud computing. But the digital world has hardly ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Basic Books (first published December 1st 2011)
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E-patient Dave
May 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I come from high tech, where there are zillions of innovations, few get any traction, and a small number change the world. This book is by far the best marriage I've seen of potent innovator thinking with medicine, social media, and information science.

A lot of people are going to say this book is wacky, because it hits the nail on the head in a way that busts the paradigm into pieces. And that's the point: "creative destruction" is a somewhat disturbing term - the point (IMO) isn't destruction
May 29, 2012 rated it did not like it
An MD discovers the iPhone, gets completely carried away and declares it will disrupt most of the field of medicine (and gives a well-received TED talk along the way). Maybe I exaggerate slightly, but not much. The actual medical content was interesting to a software guy; the technical projections were much more naive.
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didn-t-finish
This book has a lot of promise but I found myself getting bogged down and skipping around after 80 pages or so. The chapters on biology and anatomy felt like I was reading a textbook. At times this book is written more for a doubting medical professional than a patient. A lot of good info in here but it needs the Malcolm Gladwell touch. The doctor has passion and I'd want him taking care of me but I couldn't "eat" the whole thing.
Oct 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2012, med-lite
The book gives you all the pieces that will lead to a medical revolution. The revolution won't occur in hospitals or in legacy research tracks. You don't reposition yourself into a revolution. It also describes some aspects of how traditional medicine will be shifted in parallel with the revolution and what you can do to avoid being harmed by traditional medicine as it currently exists.

For avoiding harm, I would suggest The Last Well Person: How to Stay Well Despite the Health-Care System for mo
Ben Z.
May 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
This book was though-provoking.

The author believes that healthcare is reaching a critical convergence with technology that will revolutionize how patients are treated, how doctors provide care, how drugs are developed, and how people maintain their health. Low-cost genomics, hand-held medical imaging devices, wireless sensors, cloud computing, social networking, and telemedicine are all examples of the rapidly evolving technologies transforming healthcare. These technologies will lead to the "d
Sep 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Current, predictive and a great business opportunity. Idiopathic therapies based on gnomic results. 4 years ago at the company I work for I was show how cancer is detected in cells. At that time you would see a spike indicating cancer and then they would seek out the matching therapy based on defined processes.

However cancer and many other illnesses with their many mutations now requires very personalized medicines at times to be effective. DNA sequencing of the person is showing a better way a
Jack Reifenberg
Dec 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, medicine
I appreciate Topol’s criticisms against the status quo in medicine. Makes me wonder how I’ll fare if I face similar challenges. It’s fun to be idealistic from the outside but who knows what’s going to happen once I’m really a cog in the machine.

I also wonder how he’d react to Theranos, given all of chapters 7-9.
Karel Baloun
May 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding objective book predicting key aspects of a medical revolution this decade -- individualized, proactive wellness, led by people and distributed sensors and data rather than professional medical organizations.

Positive and practical, far reaching and meticulously researched.

Topol deserves admiration from pivoting from traditional cardiology (where he was well positioned) to leading a technological revolution towards a more humane and effective medical industry.

Also gives medical profe
May 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Eric Topol has created a compelling vision of technology enabled individualized medicine. I had the opportunity to talk with the president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, an oncologist, a few years back, who envisioned both doctor and patient receiving genetic profiles to highlight risks and targeted therapies. He, like Topol, sees the future of medicine as democratized information at the sub-genetic level guiding effective therapies. Technology is central to amassing huge amounts of data ...more
Christopher Benassi
Apr 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Interesting overview on the convergence of wireless sensors, genomics, imaging, and medical records. Understanding how the fields of biology, physiology, and anatomy will technologically overlap presents an exciting opportunity for creative disruption. Overall, cool ideas-- but it felt a bit fragmented and idea-flow was difficult to follow at points
Marta Hauenstein
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thesis: Technologies and methods are (becoming) available to transform medicine from a system where doctors diagnose and treat issues according to their understanding of “standard” human functionality into a science that can identify exactly what is causing a problem in a particular individual and either prevent it or treat it accurately. With or without the doctors. This development is evident across the life science value chain, from new R&D methods, through diagnostics, better understanding o ...more
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
Here is an interesting book by Eric Topol, a renowned cardiologist with a social network presence (I discovered him on Twitter). He starts with a critique of the population-based medicine paradigm and how medicine is resistant to change.

Topol than states the case of a digitized human being, which is essentially representing the patient using data from heterogenous sources such as wireless sensors (from smart phones and smart watches, to patches and so on), genomics, imaging, and electronic medi
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book presents a tour of "Medicine" today with a focus on how the provision of health care and related services from health sciences (pharma and devices) are being influenced by the advent of digital technology - taken to include both digital developments in information technology as well as the reconfiguration of medical knowledge and practice around genomics, genetics, and related fields. The author is an accomplished cardiologist who is also an active researcher and very knowledgeable abo ...more
Jul 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
The topic of this book was intriguing, but I couldn't even make it through the entire thing. Topol ends the introduction with this: "This book is intended to arm consumers to move us forward." However, this has to be the least consumer-friendly book I've ever read. An average consumer would not be able to make it through the content. Furthermore, Topol does not put forth many new, thought-provoking ideas but simply summarizes ALL the recent examples he can find of technology and medicine interse ...more
Mikey Sklar
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Eric for showing us the future. I can't say enough good things about this book. If you are curious how wearable tech of n=1 will infiltrate the traditional shoot-by-the-hip world of clinical medicine then read this book!
Shiela Rozich
Nov 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Certainly a very thorough look into modern technology and how it it affecting medicine and health care. He doesn’t hesitate to throw in his opinions and feelings.
Lots of words. Wonder how this book will read in five years.
Having been published in 2012, content and some points are already out of date. This speaks to the fast pace of developments, yet not fast enough (!) as medical advancement still lags quite a bit behind so many fields!
Bruno Konieczny
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Written years ago, but 'right on the money' ...
Apr 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: medical
An interesting book about how recent and still evolving technology can make a revolutionary change in the way medicine is taught, developed, practiced, and delivered.

The author does a great job of quickly surveying the current technological norms, how relatively quickly they came about, and how their tapped and untapped powers have and will continue to become an important tool in the future of medicine, both for doctors and patients. The technologies discussed are half medicine and half access
Zhi Ling Tan
i admired the zest and gusto behind the author's idea about harnessing big data to individualize healthcare. through the many examples listed, i was rather convinced by how the current practice of medicine could do with more precision and care, rather than going through the SOPs, checklist-style, based on the observation of selected key symptoms.

However, I was rather disturbed by the argument that more data correlates to better healthcare. the assumptions made by the author were that only by do
Feb 15, 2012 added it
As a person who was energized by the technological promises of the healthcare debate a few years ago, and as a software engineer who plans on developing healthcare-related software (this book was required reading for my department), I was really curious to see what this book had in store. The book seems to have two messages: changes are coming to healthcare, and we all need to do what we can to quicken these changes. I think the author did a fair job of convincing me of the former, and while I w ...more
Uwe Hook
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
A great read. He navigates the space clearly and brings a huge wealth of personal experiences and anecdotes to the topics. All aspects of healthcare technology are addressed and he takes a broad perspective covering viewpoints of providers, payers, drug companies, docs and patients. His arguments are balanced and well articulated. Essential reading for anyone in the healthcare technology field. There is no doubt that the majority of the content will come to be, in time, given the massive pressur ...more
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Although this book is about how the current technology revolution is changing and will change healthcare, Topol still seems a bit behind. He writes about many cool gadgets, smartphone apps, the current research, and health databases, but not all of it. There's so much more out there that he does not mention as possible creative destructions.

Topol focuses the most on individualized medicine, which almost requires that everyone undergo genomic sequencing, which he goes into some detail explaining
Nov 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: medicine, 2014
Overall a critical view of medicine today with an optimistic projection of the future. I'm sure in some areas his predictions will be spot on but in others I suspect he's dreaming. As I have Atul Gwande's new book Being Mortal on my bookshelf waiting to be read I felt like this book was surprisingly silent on end of life issues and even beyond that seemed to almost ignore the fact that for so much of what causes suffering in this world, the technology he was exploring will never have an answer. ...more
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were times as I went through this that I wondered whether the author might not have taken leave of his senses, but as it went along I think not. It is likely that many things will come about in ways quite different than Topol now envisions, and some will likely not take place at all. But, it seems quite likely that medical science, having only been taught in a scientific manner for little more than 110-120 years, will have quite a different next century than its last. Some of his ideas abo ...more
Bryan Kibbe
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
A great overview of some of the cutting edge changes in health care technology that have the potential to considerably alter the way in which we deliver and practice medical care in the United States. Instead of being merely a techno-tour of medical technologies (as Topol himself words it) this book benefits from Topol's distinctive thesis that the technologies he surveys could lead to a paradigm shift in how medicine is currently practiced. While technical in some parts, Topol remains an access ...more
Cavin Balaster
Sep 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: medicine
The book is a delightful and educational read written by an articulate, smart, and entertaining narrator. Topol presents the limitations within our current medical climate and proposes solutions. Stories of his, his family’s, and his patients experiences make for experiential and personal examples of the current deficits. The quandaries of each example are presented with proposed solutions, which really works to bring his ideas home leaving room for the reader to ponder the possibilities. Throug ...more
Harry Lane
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this book because the practice of medicine has not, in my judgement, kept up with advances in science and technology. Topol's premise seems congruent, and he goes into considerable detail that is both convincing and in a strange way, amorphous. In the science area, for example, he gives a good overview of the state of genomic research, then proceeds to explain this hasn't translated to better medical practices because of the great complexity of the field and the difficulty o ...more
Feb 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great update on the current state of digital healthcare and many more ideas to look forward to. Quantifying everything is the future and healthcare is moving toward that as well. Dr. Topol provides his insight on the future of technology, individual medicine and better efficiency as well as concerns for these medical innovations. The book was a quick read. I have little background in genetics, so I got totally lost in that part of the book, but it was worth the read. I would recommend this to an ...more
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Eric Topol is a well-regarded medical social media guru whose timely insight into the changes of healthcare today is erudite and interesting, if a little intense. I look forward to the future in medicine and hope that his view of the future is on the money. Only time will tell, but I agree that it is fast becoming a hell of a ride. A bit technical and very genome-centric, The Creative Destruction of Medicine should be required reading for all upper level healthcare students, definitely all medic ...more
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