Was it a keynote? Or a seismic warning?

Eric Topol’s keynote at HIMSS13, a massive health IT event, was a tsunami of ideas and visions for the future of health care. I wasn’t there, so I salvaged what washed up on my shore as a Storify.

Why? Because I’m an internet geologist. I look for early warning signs of possible futures and Topol was reeling them out, one after the other. He described the possible trajectory of trends we are tracking every day at the Pew Research Center: mobile, social, DIY health. It’s not reality for everyone, but it’s reality for some — and that’s exactly what we look for when we’re mapping our research agenda. What’s now and what’s next.

If you were there, what was the most surprising or exciting thing he mentioned? If you’re just tuning in and seeing the Storify, what jumps out at you as the most or least likely trend?

9 thoughts on “Was it a keynote? Or a seismic warning?

  1. I was there. The one thing that stuck out with me the most is that he said there won’t be a need for inpatient hospital stays other than surgical, nor will there be a need for office visits. This would equate to the physician becoming more of an interpreter of data than the traditional practitioner. Patient visits would be virtualized, which would require physicians to see more patients in the same amount of time. If this really happens, it will cause a dramatic change to personnel roles in the physician office, and hospitals. What will the role of the hospital nurse become? How will Medical Assistants and LPN’s from physician offices fit into the picture? Very interesting….

  2. I wasn’t there. Desperately wanted to be.

    What appears to be most impactful (from my observation of the chatter) was the bravery he displayed. A willingness to share data, technology, and a confidence in self. Knowing that patients indeed will need less doctors (and more technology), and that those absent (EPIC) from dialogues about collaboration must have their windows broken so the light streams in.

    He looks forward, solves problems presently, and does so all with confidence of compassion and a steady HR.

    Give me my pathology reports. Give me my complete blood count and lipid panel. Connect me with research funded by the people and powered by the exceptional scientists. Share the phone number and philosophy of the surgeon I may need. Let me track, sense, observe, and heal myself by giving me the right tools. Value my intellect as a patient and person who feels the body in which I live. And connect with me those who can help me make great decisions to protect me and help me live a long life. Show me how to care for my children and include me when my mom is ill.

    This is the future of health care. Thank God I may get to be a part of it, and thank goodness we have Eric Topol with his binoculars looking far forward well past the horizon…

  3. Love love love his call for MOOC-like massive open online collaboration within the healthcare community. Disruption in-line with the openedu movement. This is something that can change today, without fee-structure changes and massive litigation.

    He opened his data out to the public, and the more we see this behavior, the more we will see a total shift in societal perceptions revolving health data, hipaa and those dinosaurs. Nice little jab to the AMA, too. Stop questioning if I am equipped to properly process my own information, that’s not your job.

    I see an even greater increase in RN/PA involvement at MDs take on a more secondary role. I’m particularly interested in how education will shift to accommodate these new roles.

    I’m hopefully optimistic. Most of my docs still print out emails and leave them on my desk….

  4. Thank you! Keep those observations and ideas coming.

    I always look to Jane Sarasohn-Kahn for interpretation, so was happy to see she blogged about the speech:

    Eric Topol creatively destroys medicine at #HIMSS13

    She calls out a few of Topol’s points which I missed or didn’t do justice to in my drive-by Storify, such as:

    – Gutenberg Medicine, aka the Third Industrial Revolution
    – the positive role of patient social networks
    – IBM Watson’s role

    Read her post and, if you see other great coverage, please let me know.

  5. My thoughts on Eric Topol and the ideas supporting his agenda are expressed all too often on Twitter (especially in #meded2) and my #PM101 blog (http://bitly.com/LqWI1C ) to suit most people’s taste. Eric is able to finesse the message gracefully and convincingly, while I tend to use a sledge hammer to convey a similar message, which obviously doesn’t work as well. But what really matters to me is that the medical establishment, including medical education, gets its act together to improve healthcare for patients like me who could be getting so much more benefit from our society’s potential than what we’re presently experiencing.

    Thanks, Susannah, for both the Storify above, and for providing this forum for people to share their thoughts and feelings on this timely topic.

  6. The headline? Disintermediation.

    We have built a system that doesn’t work, in which the number of intermediaries grows exponentially every day. In fact, the intermediaries in this business have intermediaries — and much of that is caused by mis-aligned incentives.

    Once health is disintermediated, and you and I win the right to our data and our treatment paths, we will see the world Topol is talking about.

    It’s about democratization of information: let Hugo have access to his data, let Casey know about the price, let Dave and his doc do counterintuitive things if that’s what the situation calls for in their best judgment.

    And thanks, Susannah, for the Storify, and for hosting this salon!

  7. I’ve been thinking about Topol’s description of the changing roles for clinicians and parallels with other industries (dangerous, I know, but I think it’s still a useful excercise).

    NPR’s Morning Edition ran a story today that is worth a listen:

    News Corp. Education Tablet: For The Love Of Learning?

    An excerpt:

    >>>At a May 2011 event in Paris, Murdoch noted that the fields of medicine, finance and media have all accelerated their adoption of technology. But schools have failed to share such advances, he said.

    “Today’s classroom looks almost exactly the same as it did in the Victorian age: a teacher standing in front of a roomful of kids with only a textbook, a blackboard, and a piece of chalk,” Murdoch said.< << There is pushback from teachers' unions who believe there is a not-so-high-minded motivation: to reduce the number of teachers in public school classrooms. This got me thinking about how people report that screens are both getting in the way of AND enhancing relationships in both education and health care. Whenever I hear about conflicting opinions about what people actually do, I look for data. My organization, the Pew Research Center, happens to have some new data to share: How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms

    And here’s a Pew Research Center tip sheet on how people are using technology in health care. I wish we had data on clinicians as a group, but we don’t, so it’s not an exact comparison. If anyone has a good study at their fingertips, please post a comment.

    What do you think? Do you see parallels between the two debates?

    • On a plane – so sorry in advance if this is disjointed. But I heard that NPR story this morning too. What struck me about it was Murdoch’s statement that education hadn’t changed since the Victorian era (think it was). He described the survival of the triad of classroom, teacher, students as though it were some kind of indictment – that there was something dysfunctional about its persistence – and implied that evolution would be necessarily beneficial. I hope we can put more wise rationales underneath changes in healthcare and be content to see some things persist when they bring peace and support to people.

      • Yes! Exactly – an indictment of what, for many, is a cherished relationship. That’s why I look at anything that has that tone of indictment (doctors who refuse to use Twitter, as seemed to be implied in Topol’s remarks) with my head cocked to one side.

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