CFO Exchange: Smartphones Poised to Disrupt Healthcare, Says Topol

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , August 19, 2014

The democratization of medicine is as close as the phone in your pocket, says Eric Topol, MD. Healthcare leaders had better be ready for empowered consumers, cost-cutting mobile apps, and genetic sequencing, which promises to be a differentiator.

You're carrying the key to healthcare's salvation in your pocket.


Eric Topol, MD

That was the message from Eric Topol, MD, keynote speaker at last week's HealthLeaders CFO Exchange. In a one-hour tour-de-force session, he made his case for the many virtues of smartphones as constant healthcare companions, patient empowerment, and disruption to the way healthcare has been practiced as far back as ancient Egypt when doctors were also priests.

Topol opened his remarks with photos of taxicab drivers around the world protesting the ride-sharing service Uber en masse. Like many users, Topol loves Uber, particularly UberX, where the driver is more likely not a cabbie. The Uber phone app tells users how many minutes until their ride arrives and "it's a lot cheaper, [the drivers are] friendly, and they want to get the five-star rating," Topol said.

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Healthcare is poised to reach consumers through the same portal as Uber—the smartphone, Topol said. As examples, he mentioned the apps Medicast and Pager, which allow consumers to schedule house calls from among nearby doctors.

Even the Mayo Clinic is getting in on the act, with its Better service. "Basically they've taken their nurse practitioner team, which is very strong, and they've put them on the front lines… with the Mayo doctors in the background," Topol told the assembled CFOs. "[Consumers] pay $50 a month for unlimited access."

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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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