Skip to main content

The question is are we going to support it or is it going to have to come from a consumer base?


In a recent interview with Eric Topol, M.D., at the AAMC 2012 conference, the Utah Innovation team heard one view of the role of both individualized health care and health care providers in the coming years. Topol is and has been an advocate for the use of wireless devices to empower patients by allowing them to tune in to their body via medical apps and other devices. In this interview Topol refers to the “medical priesthood” that “basically has control of all the data, access to data, and all the information.”

But Topol isn’t condemning his fellow associates, rather he is trying to get them to realize that change isn’t going to take 10 to 15 years. It’s already here. Topol has demonstrated his commitment to embracing what some still consider disruptive technology and using it to delve further into what most of us thought medical specialists are here for: to heal and care for the body. The prevalence of both technological advances and social media have empowered individuals because they have led to active, two-way conversations with experts or, as Topol mentioned, the “medical priesthood.” And this change is, as he says, “actual opportunity—the reality.”

Topol has long been on the scene as a frontrunner in the health care field. He is currently a professor of genomics at the Scripps Research Institute, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute and a senior consultant on cardiovascular diseases at the Scripps Clinic. He even gave a TED talk in 2009, which apparently made his medical apps demonstration a signature move (we’ll have to get that in a future interview). What’s really impressive about Topol, however, was his willingness to walk the talk. He wasn’t aloof; he wasn’t closed. He made time to interact with our team. You could say that in the current digitalized reality he embodies medical transparency because of his effort to communicate his thoughts and ideas on health care. Innovation isn’t just about new technologies or cutting-edge treatments; it’s about changing the way we do things. It’s about innovating.

If you have an opinion, idea, suggestion, viewpoint, feel free to contact us. We would love to showcase your ideas, because we aren’t just looking for what we know—we’re also looking for what we don’t know.

By: Jen Jenkins