CFO Exchange: Smartphones Poised to Disrupt Healthcare, Says Topol

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , August 19, 2014

As another example of the coming democratization of medicine, Topol cited Theranos. It has technology that can perform tests that labs like Labcorp or Quest perform, but using only "a droplet of blood" at a fraction of the current cost. Walgreens is already starting to install the technology at some of its stores.

Recently-released Medicare data showed that Medicare spent $5 billion in 2012 on labs. "That is going to go through a major shakeup," he said. And Theranos is actually intermediatetechnology. In a few short years, it will be possible to perform these lab tests with—you guessed it—the smartphone.

CFO Exchange: Top Hospital Revenue Growth Opportunities ID'd

Enter Genetic Sequencing
Someone in the audience suggested that common labs could be done this way, but not more complex tests. Topol conceded the point, but suggested, as he has in the past, that medical centers go upscale, particularly into genomic testing, as a hedge against having today's lab testing revenue eroded by Theranos and all that follow it.

"Health systems have not gotten into sequencing, but they should, because it will differentiate, and it's going to be paid for very soon, or is, in many circumstances, by insurance," Topol said.

Another example: With only 13 out of 1,000 patients benefitting from statins, Topol says genetic screening can make a huge difference in reducing side effects and the cost of drugs by not treating patients who cannot benefit from statins.

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4 comments on "CFO Exchange: Smartphones Poised to Disrupt Healthcare, Says Topol"

Lizzie Watson (8/21/2014 at 4:42 PM)
The fact that I can get lab work done with only a drop of blood is very exciting! It will be interesting to see how the healthcare industry evolves and adapts with the rapid growth of new technology.

bettynoyes (8/21/2014 at 12:58 PM)
I am delighted to again read that this may really become a reality!!! Your Headline title was concerning.. I was worried you were going to be negative! :-) (8/20/2014 at 11:21 AM)
When Mr. Bell met Dr. Welby at the beginning of the 20th Century, the telephone transformed the way doctors and patients connected even when the only public phone in town was at the corner drugstore. Everyone benefited, including a small company called Walgreens. Now, a century later, physicians and patients are again finding a new, "intermediate" way to connect by phone through the corner drugstore, but this time there are more corner drugstores[INVALID]-at the Walgreens Health Alliance and Walmart. Instead of making multiple trips to have lab work and imaging done, pick up a prescription and lease a wheelchair, orthopedic boot or a more sophisticated monitoring device, patients will be able to do all of this with one stop. Ron Hammerle Chairman and CEO Health Resources, Ltd. Tampa, Florida




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