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The Decision Tree: How to make better choices and take control of your health
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The Decision Tree: How to make better choices and take control of your health

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  141 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
For all the talk about personalized medicine, our health care system remains a top-down, doctor-driven system where individuals are too often bit players in their own health decisions. In The Decision Tree, Thomas Goetz proposes a new strategy for thinking about health, one that applies cutting-edge technology to put us at the center of the equation and explains how the
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Rodale Books (first published 2010)
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Nicole Harkin featured this book the day it came out and it seemed so interesting that I went right out an ordered it. I know, the year of making do, what was I thinking?

Summary of the Book
The book looks at technology, and reasons that with doctors too busy to take care of you, you need to start taking control of your health. You have become the informed consumer. But what’s a girl to do? Go to medical school? The idea is to make medical decisions more systematic, make information more accessib
Jan 08, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think there were some beneficial ideas in the book. It would be intelligent to alter one's behavior before one get's sick. I know my grandfather has diabetes and I am pretty sure my father has high blood pressure. It would be in my best interest to eat healthier and perhaps cut down on my soda intake (which at times ascends to half of a 2 Liter). I may not have control of my genes by I can shape my overall fitness to reduce my risks.

I liked hearing about some of the companies in the novel. If
Greg Stoll
This book was...OK. It covered a few topics: we need to take more control of our health and have more access to our medical records/data (including our DNA) so we can make our own decisions, it's better to catch diseases early but the health care system in the US isn't correctly incentivized to encourage that, we need to change the pharmaceutical industry so they don't have to focus on blockbuster drugs. All was mildly interesting, but mostly stuff I had heard before, and tying all of this to a ...more
K. Rozier
Nothing new: don't smoke, watch your diet, take the right prescriptions .... "This book focuses on pharmaceuticals, mostly, and early screening and testing. Promotes the AMA and FDA which do not have the public's well being at stake; they're motivated by politics and money - always follow the money trail. They want you to forget all those nasty side effects of the meds they're pushing; afterall, they've got another ten meds for those that you can pay for for the rest of your life. They're about ...more
Mar 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: innovation, medicine
I think this is a pretty solid overview for the general public on the broad problems with the practice of medicine in America. The book follows a logical format, covering the three main thought processes behind medicine: prediction/prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Really the book makes an argument to push for a Health 3.0 system (not necessarily a term he uses), focusing on early intervention and surveillance, instead of reactionary medicine, which is the mainstay here in America. For more ...more
Mar 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I happen to be one of those people that thinks people should be more self-aware, self responsible, and take a more scientific and data driven approach to their own health so of course I liked this book. However, while it nicely validated my own personal perspective, it did not give much information in terms of practical ways in which to take charge of your own health care. I expected more specific adviced on how to choose, communicate and manage your doctors and your health records. It barely di ...more
Jan 07, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In an easy to read, anecdotal account, Thomas Goetz explains how and why Americans need shift their health care focus from doctor-driven to patient-driven. Goetz aptly discusses monitoring health via a range of collaborative health tools, screening techniques and IPhone applications. While providing ample data and scientific studies, Goetz does not gear his book to those with Phd's in Public Health or to those wanting a no brainer introduction. Rather, his writings provide an engaging thought-pr ...more
Chris Wolak
I expected this book to be something that it wasn't and wish goodreads had a star to reflect that. When I entered to win it from goodreads I thought it would be more about what you can do to be a healthier you--from being proactive by eating healthy, exercising, and using both alternative/complementary medicine, western medicine, and monitoring your own behavior with smart phone aps (or similar technology). But the book is more about envisioning a shift in how people and the medical system need ...more
Bryan Kibbe
Jun 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Goetz offers a compelling call to advance cutting edge developments in the areas of personalized health care and consumer driven care. Offering an interdisciplinary approach that draws from diverse fields and sources, the book is engaging and easy to read. At his best Goetz is emphasizing crucial insights necessary for genuine health reform (i.e. changing doctor pay structure, emphasizing prevention, utilizing patients in care, cost effectiveness, price transparency, etc.). At his worst, which i ...more
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, health
The Decision Tree will show you how to take advantage of this new frontier in health care. It turns to new screening techniques that detect diseases like cancer and diabetes far earlier and with far better prospects for our health. Full of thoughtful, groundbreaking reporting on the impact personalized medicine will have on the average patient. An individuals Decision Tree begins with genomics, where $400 and a test tube of spit provides a peek at how your DNA influences your health. It taps sel ...more
Mar 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Smart book, stupid title. The author tries to squish every effective point he has about personalized medicine and data analytics within the framework of a decision tree. There is nothing revolutionary or especially personalized about a medical decision chart and the ones he shares in the book are particularly generic. This book isn't about "taking control of your health," it is about how data- at a personal and population level- can be translated into actionable information with the power to rev ...more
Daniel Hooker
An excellent call to arms for personalized medicine and patient activism. At times the book acts as though we don't need doctors at all, or rather, that doctors no longer fit in the new paradigm that Goetz describes. The "decision tree" metaphor is likely an attempt to link the active patient model to evidence-based practice, which is a good idea, but the actual "trees" drawn in the book don't add much to the story. Goetz does a good enough job personalizing the medical decisions in each example ...more
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
This book saved my life. I learned how to find out what I need to know and what to do "when there is no doctor." I got a copy of my medical chart as recommended and was able to self diagnose based on medical history and eventually get a real diagnosis. Saved my bacon!
It's well written, very easy to understand and that is what gave me hope that I could figure out how to save my own life. Mr Goetz you are a gentleman and a scholar!
Won this on first reads.

I am one of a family that has a loooooong line of health issues. The doctors have trouble going through the history and figuring things out. I love this book as it seems like it will assist many of us to get things worked out in our family. I think I may actually be able to get it straight in time to keep my kids from going through the triala, headaches, and frustrations of mine and previous generations!
Nov 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading about the history of specific medical discoveries regarding chronic diseases, clinical drug trials, and the advancement of DNA and proteomics. However, I felt that the whole "Decision Tree" idea seemed a bit tacked on and not really groundbreaking when it was reviewing the process that a specific patient went through.
I just won this book. I hope it's interesting.

There were a lot of technical explanations which if that was an interest of mine maybe I would have enjoyed this book, but I really didn't. I didn't end up finishing it.
Donna Zakem
Jan 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: firstreads
Thomas Goetz's book, The Decision Tree taught me, not only that I needed to take charge of my healthcare, but also how to do it. A must read for all during this revolution in healthcare. A great first reads win!!
Jul 12, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read about how you can take charge of your health. Leaned a bit about genetics and healthcare decision making, and ways around the current bad healthcare system situation.
Apr 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Goetz provides a compelling case for why the future of medicine will be personalized, but it's obvious that there are still a lot of unknowns in getting from where we are today to where we will be.
Mar 02, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Great stuff to consider about owning your health!
Nursing Research Seton Healthcare Family
"It looks like a timely text, but I haven’t made the time to read it! That time will come…" reported Ragan Healthcare Communications writer Dan Dunlop in the 12/22/13 Newsletter.
Jul 01, 2010 marked it as to-read-tier-2  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health-medicine
Goetz wrote this article.

Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Somewhere in this book is an idea that will determine my personal and professional path in life. However , there are so many interesting and spot-on ideas that I don't know which one will be it!
Adam Wiggins
Apr 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Technology, patient empowerment and autonomy, interest in personal metrics-gathering, and transparency are transforming modern medical care - for the better.
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lays out an articulate approach to thinking about, and making, decisions that can be used in many areas of life including health care.
Sep 27, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not bad. Useful info for people into personal health knowledge.
rated it liked it
Dec 26, 2010
rated it it was ok
Sep 12, 2012
rated it really liked it
Nov 25, 2014
David Martinez
rated it it was amazing
Jan 09, 2015
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Thomas Goetz is the author of the new book, The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, & the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis. He is also co-founder of Iodine, a health technology company based in San Francisco. His previous book, The Decision Tree, was chosen by the Wall Street Journal as a Best Health book of 2010, and widely hailed as offering a new vision for healthcare in the United States.

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