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The Edge of Medicine: The Technology That Will Change Our Lives Hardcover – October 14, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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“The work is informative, coherent, extremely well written, and easy to read; it will make readers acutely aware of the vast number of high-tech advances with potential to have a profound, positive impact on medical diagnoses, treatments, and outcomes. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through professionals/ practitioners; general readers.” ―CHOICE

“(A) spirited, feel-good look at an area of medicine that's making progress.” ―Kirkus

The Edge of Medicine is a revelatory look at the amazing technology that will drive our medical future, from proton beams to mind-reading brain chips. Dr. Hanson is the ideal guide: knowledgeable, thoughtful, and fun.” ―Jack El-Hai, author or The Lobotomist: A Maverick Medical Genius and His Tragic Quest to Rid the World of Mental Illness

“A rare glimpse into the future of medicine, through the eyes of a Renaissance thinker with a remarkable grasp of history and modern science, combined with deep compassion for patients. He sees linkages among vastly different sciences, such as physics, nanotechnology and computer sciences, that others often miss. He envisions a melding of scientific advances in physics and chemistry with those in communications technology, leading to an exciting era of personalized healthcare that seemed impossible only a few years ago. Throughout, he never fails to focus on the human side of healthcare; few could lead us there so elegantly. ” ―David E. Longnecker, MD, Director at the Association of American Medical Colleges

“A riveting and readable account of the future of technology in health care. Dr. William Hanson makes a convincing case that the ultimate goal of tiny nanomachines and gargantuan proton beam facilities is a medicine that is preventative, efficient, and personalized.” ―Arthur L. Caplan, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

About the Author

William Hanson M.D. is an anesthesiologist and chief of intensive care at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School as well as an Associated Faculty member of the Computer Science Department at Princeton University, where he has taught a course on computers in medicine. He is often quoted in USA Today and US News & World Report, and has been profiled in Popular Science and New Scientist. He lives in Philadelphia, PA.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (October 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230605753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230605756
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,457,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I heard this guy on Terry Gross & Marty Moss-Coane. He was awesome. They don't make doctors like that anymore. At least I can't find them. I got a copy of the book from my husband and read it straight through. If you are interested in how technology is shaping the technical and human side of medicine, you will love this book. It's not often you run across someone who can relate Hypocrates to telemedicine.
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Format: Hardcover
The Edge of Medicine employs a rich symphony of details only a medical school professor could author. This is a great book for medical professional and lay-person alike. The concepts featured, from personal diagnostics to regenerative medicine, are introduced in a way for the reader to understand current clinical context and the vision of future healthcare delivery.

However, the technologies reported on are not new. These innovations have been in practice, albeit under the radar, for the last 3-5 years. In the coming years, they will form a new layer of "standard of care" demand. For instance, an Army Medical Hospital that treats soldier wounds with a regenerative medicine resolution will do the same for a civilian auto accident survivor. Little by little, what is offered as cutting edge to one group will soon be offered to another. Yet, hospital system economics will dictate care delivery based on ability to pay. More and more, we will see standard of care and affordability barrier trajectories go up in a direct relationship. Those who want to read more about the upcoming disparities in futuristic medicine should read Joel Garreau's book, Radical Evolution.

The adoption curve's economic dilemma is examined further.

The author accurately portrays stakeholder intent in the cost of healthcare: the provider and insurer want to maximize revenues. This means costs are maximized for payers. The payer is the only stakeholder that wants to reduce their costs. What does this mean for the adoption of life saving and cost saving products and services? Providers employ a competitive advantage by advertising a - high quality, low error, reduced pain, and reduced time of stay - patient solution.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is nothing in the twenty-first century that is uninteresting, and after finishing this book the opinion that this is the best time to be alive is reinforced. The advances in medicine that were predicted to occur just a decade ago have proven to be a gross underestimate, as this book clearly shows. Its author is a physician, and also has the virtue of being a technophiliac, but the best part of his writing is his frankness in assessing some of the issues in modern medicine. Treatment modalities, surgical techniques, diagnostics, and prognostics are now more than ever being done with the assistance of technology, some of this technology being highly sophisticated and intelligent.

Genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience, robotic surgery: these are some of the tools of twenty-first century medicine. The author details the use of some of them in the book, and it is amazing to think of just a short time ago they were viewed as purely science fiction. In fact what is being done now and in a few years makes the Hollywood imagination seem sophomoric by comparison.

The author though also goes beyond a mere reporting of technological facts, for he exposes some of the finagling and politics in hospitals in the United States. One example that particularly stands out is his opinion on the "successful" hospital, these being characterized by their collection of "certificates of excellence." They acquire these by what he refers to as the "parasitic" certifying organizations that arbitrarily define novel measures of excellence, and proceed to convince hospitals, through marketing or regulatory pressure, to conform to the artificial standards that they have created.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An exceptionally readable and short book on the technological advances occurring in medicine, in particular in biotechnology and genetics, robotics, and nuclear medicine, that will have a significant impact on how we diagnose and treat disease in the 21st century.

Dr. William Hanson is a practicing physician and technophile at the University of Pennsylvania who writes in a tone that any patient desires of their personal physician: direct, honest, and reasonable.

An excellent book for anyone interested in the future of medicine.
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