Something that’s “uncomfortable for doctors”


There’s an interesting opinion piece on the Medscape web site today by Professor Eric Topol of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California. His subject is “Consumer-driven healthcare makes docs uncomfortable.”

Dr. Topol has long been an innovator in the world of medicine — loved by some and hated by others. His premise (and remember that his piece is written primarily for physicians) is that we are at a tipping point in the evolution of individualized health care (because of consumer access to their individual health data) that is comparable to the effect of the Gutenberg printing press on the dissemination of religious knowledge because it made it possible for everyone to have and read their own bible. It changed the relationship between priest and parishioner just as mobile health data is going to change the relationships between doctors and patients.

Dr. Topol clearly thinks (as we do) that this is (a) inevitable and (b) potentially a good thing too. It obviously has ramifications way beyond prostate cancer … but let’s not underestimate the potential impact on prostate cancer management.

3 Responses

  1. This is indeed a potentially good thing. To actualise it would require better education in science and maths — e.g., statistics — and open access to much additional online information. Without these, a patient might not be able to evaluate what he or she obtains, say from a physician.

  2. George … You would probably be interested in the activities of the Society for Participatory Medicine, in which physicians, patients, and others have equal standing as members.

  3. Thanks, Sitemaster. I looked at the Society’s page and will join soon.

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