The future of medicine is in your hands.
Sounds pretty good, right?
Dr. Eric Topol thinks it does.
In his landmark book, The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine Is in Your Hands (affiliate link), Dr. Topol outlines how advances in healthcare technology—aka digital health—are providing consumers with more power than ever over their own care. Here’s an excerpt from a summary of the book:
…the mobile internet is…giving us unprecedented control over our healthcare. With smartphones in hand, we are no longer beholden to an impersonal and paternalistic system in which “doctor knows best.” Medicine has been digitized, Topol argues; now it will be democratized.
For us boomers—who are vulnerable to accumulating healthcare issues as we age—that kind of empowerment seems like a pretty big deal.
An evolving democracy
When I was the senior content editor for a global digital health company, I contributed to a post with digital health guru John Nosta, entitled, “The Democratization of Medicine and the Two-party System.” In it, John shares insights from Dr. Topol as he and I dig into the dynamics of the evolving democracy within healthcare.
Here’s a brief excerpt from what I wrote then:
I’d take the two-party system a step further, proposing that it’s not just made up of patients and providers, but patients and patients—those who want to be governed, and those who don’t. I think we need to find a way to account for and address this within our healthcare paradigm. Doing so will not only help patients, but providers as well—allowing them to pour the efforts of their limited time and resources into the former, instead of the latter.
In the years since I wrote that, I have—well, aged some.
Maybe even mellowed a bit.
I’m still pretty stubborn when it comes to having control over my healthcare. I’d rather invest in the daily priorities that help to optimize my health—regular exercise, a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, adequate rest, prayer and meditation, family and friends—instead of relying on a healthcare system that often prioritizes treatment over prevention and productivity over compassion.
I also love the fact that I can order my own labs and decide who else I’ll share the results with besides myself.
But I’m also willing to embrace the guidance of healthcare professionals who really listen, care about my needs, and are willing to partner with me within a healthcare paradigm that I believe in.
Dr. Topol’s book emphasizes the potential that digital health offers to allow patients to have more control—and I’m all for that.
But I still appreciate the human touch of healthcare that digital will never be able to replace.
It’s why I became a nurse.
And why the evolving democracy isn’t just between patients and providers—but the one that I negotiate within.
For more resources, please visit our page, Resources for the Journey.
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