Long wait times are one of the drivers behind telehealth. To illustrate the point, Topol displayed wait times to see a primary care doctor in various cities. Boston topped the list at 66 days on average. A recent PriceWaterhouseCoopers report suggests that by the end of this year, one in six visits will be virtual.
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What Consumers Want. When They Want It.
There's a tongue-tying acronym for this consumer-driven phenomenon – IWWIWWIWI. "I want what I want when I want it." It started in the fashion world and is disrupting many industries besides healthcare. "Everything else is on demand," Topol said. "Your groceries can be delivered to your door within an hour, and so can your healthcare."
Topol is no stranger to readers of HealthLeaders. He's not just a practicing cardiologist, but also holds prestigious positions at the Scripps Research Institute and Scripps Health, and— vested interest alert— took the role of AT&T's chief medical advisor this year. Two years ago, I reviewed his book, The Creative Destruction of Medicine.
Topol's next book, on the democratization of medicine, is in the works. It should arrive just in time to see the next wave of sensors, health-aware smartphones and, not long after, technology to let smartphones X-ray patients, Topol said.
The lion's share of healthcare data, he believes, will be patient-generated. (I'll believe patients taking their own X-rays when I see it, however.)