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CFO Exchange: Smartphones Poised to Disrupt Healthcare, Says Topol

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   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."

Scott Mace is the former senior technology editor for HealthLeaders Media. He is now the senior editor, custom content at H3.Group.

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