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Showing 1-10 of 106 reviews(5 star, Verified Purchases). See all 201 reviews
on March 14, 2013
I am currently half-way through the book.

This book reminds me of "Being Digital" by Nicholas Negroponte, updated and applied to medicine. I am an electrical engineer who worked in high tech (and the figures feel as if they came from a strategy/marketing presentation in that field). Reading on a Kindle, with the dictionary function, takes care of any esoteric medical terminology.

Who could read it: engineers, medical professionals and statisticians.
Who should read it: Everyone - especially if, like me, you have a chronic medical condition.

It will be interesting to see how this plays-out.
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on February 13, 2014
Wow Dr. Topol became a role model for me after I read this book.

It just sucks that the average person interested in health isn't going to be able to read this book, nor are ideas like this the impetus for social change, because unfortunately complicated ideas from smart people aren't understood by most and thus don't go anywhere without social media efforts and popularity. However Dr. Topol wants a change, and I agreed with some of his ideas. Most intriguing to me was the part about pharmacogenomics and the future of personalization in medicine. Large population based studies attempt to homogenize its sample but never do, because the genes of those individual people weren't measured and people will respond differently. Being able to group people by certain haplotypes and genes is revealing greater answers in medicine, faster.

It's dense and has a LOT of information, a LOT of references, which I like. Highly recommended for medical students.
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on December 3, 2012
This book merits five stars for content. I'd have shaved one away, because this was NOT an easy book to read. The topic, however, is so important that we'll leave a full array. In any event, if your life intersects with medicine in a major way, read it.

Dr. Topol is an eminent cardiologist, geneticist, and medical researcher. Here, he argues that the practice of medicine is on the brink of massive structural change. The title attributes this to the digital revolution, but the book is at least as much about the impact of the science of genetics. The combination of these two will produce a medical approach far more closely targetted to the individual, far more precise, and -- ulimately -- far cheaper.

A great deal of what Dr. Topol says is very informative and very convincing. Some of it is so "gee whiz" as to be offputting, and some of it sounds like science fiction. Much of what sounds like science fiction, however, is already in development. And some of it is already moving into current practice -- by patients as well as by doctors.

This is very important reading for those who have heavy contact with the healthcare system. One of Dr. Topol's key points is that as information becomes much more readily available, patients will have to take on more responsibility for their own care -- no one doctor can make all the right decisions in every area, and no one knows a patient like the patient him or herself. There is a lot in this book that's essential knowledge for those with serious conditions (or those who are helping those with serious conditions). The rather horrifying chapter on medical errors stands out, but there is much, much more.

My only problem with the book is that I found it a tough read. That's not so much because it was over-technical. The one instance in which that may be true is the section on the role of genomics in medicine, but that is a hard thing to explain, and not part of the general medical knowledge base -- Dr. Topol notes that at the last report, only 2 out of 150 U.S. medical schools had "more than a brief, cursory curriculum" devoted to genomics beyond simple Mendelian traits. My problem was with the overall approach, which is to throw lots and lots and LOTS of information at the reader, without enough explanation or linking together.

Stylistic issues, however, should not deter readers: there's so much very important stuff in this book that it's worth a bit of a slog. Moreover, the readability problem may be with this (elderly) reviewer. Two generally favorable reviews didn't seem to find it a problem. See the Wall Street Journal review at [...]at [...]

Anyway, read it.
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on September 15, 2013
I learned of this doc from a news feature a while back on NBC nightly news and wanted to learn more about what he was doing. This book is not just about medicine. The first chapters are all about the proliferation technology in general and how it has changed the way we think and live.

As a believer in holistic medicine and energy healing along with other alternative medicine, I was moved by Dr. Topol's willingness and courage to talk about the lies Big Pharma is telling us about the drugs millions are taking for cholesterol, as one example, that only do not work as promised, but can cause serious trouble. 7% of people who land in hospitals are there due to prescription drug side effects which are a leading cause of death. It's a complicated story driven by profit motives that appear to cause issues in which version of the truth the consumer will get so sales will cover billions in R&D costs. He also talks about doctors who may be more interested in selling you on the need for your heart surgery than getting you a cure that doesn't involve cracking your chest open. Hey, who will pay for all those big MRI machines if we don't keep those surgeries coming?

Dr. Topol also believes that with proper support from technology, people with various illnesses can monitor themselves or be monitored remotely and stay out of our staph ridden hospitals. Much of such technology is still in development but future developments will arrive with the same lightning speed that will make your new PC obsolete the day you buy it. Remember, there's big money in medicine!

This is a good read that should move all of us to consider that our health options and decisions should be in our own well informed hands. He gets a little technical here and there but altogether, Dr. Topol's heart is in the right place, giving information for our own personally managed good health.
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on June 27, 2013
It is impossible to overstate the importance of Dr. Eric Topol's book and his message. While the text is sometimes more technical than the average reader might be at ease with, the message that health care is endangered is vital to everyone. Politicians have refused to deal honestly with the health care lobby, the biggest and most powerful lobby in America, because its money means votes. As the Baby Boomers retire at the rate of 10,000 a day between now and 2019, the debt of health care -- already a $2.8 trillion monster -- is absolutely going to spiral out of control because nothing was done. My children, and their children, will be pinned under this financial burden their entire lives.

Topol has reformative ideas and is busy employing them with real patients. His work in wireless medicine, where multimillion-dollar medical devices have been been reduced in size and expense -- some to the size of a smartphone -- could not only save billions every year in hospital charges, but re-establish the patient-physician relationship that has been lost.

Dr. Topol's ideas need to be heard by everyone because the patient of tomorrow will have to be conversant in health care, lest they become one of the 50 percent of bankruptcy filers who do so because of medical bills.
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on February 8, 2014
Wonderful overview of all the forces being applied to the medical field. Eric Topol, MD reviews how genomics will allow the individualization of patient treatment reducing unnecessary, sometimes poorly tolerated treatments; how technologies from medical informatics and cellphones will streamline the speed, expense and ease of treatment; and social media can transfer targeted information to both medical communities and lay persons. Dr. Topol has produced a very readable book for everyone.

The material is more technical in the genomic telling but every reader will appreciate that the things that make them 'them' can be used to tailor their treatment. Even now, laypeople with breast, blood and other cancers may have noticed the new semantics applied to their tumor samples. Dr Topol envisions a huge expansion of medical knowledge and application and believes that lay people can, in fact, speed the adoption of it all just by paying attention.
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on September 13, 2013
Using a collage of case histories, Dr. Topol paints a impressionistic picture of how Information technology and science can deliver improved health care. His 2013 postscript shows that "Creative Destruction of (Traditional) Medicine" is underway. Digitizing humanity is an attractive vision that should deliver improved health. However, he does not address the capability of IT to store ZB (zettabytes) of information, or the cost, and who pays?

The book is a must read for scientists and health care providers. Regulators will shudder since most of the current paradigms will need revision. Legislators should find it useful since Topol describes the limitations of current practice. Physicians will probably wonder about how they can be retrained to use the IT tools. Also, some may find it difficult to deal with patients as peers, but this is what is required for precision, personalized medicine envisioned by Dr. Topol. A vision that I share.

Personally, I hope that he updates the book in 2014 with Postscript 2. It could be an interesting series as the the Phoenix arises out of today's ashes.
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on May 7, 2014
As a clinician in practice for over 30 years, it is encouraging to see the promise of new technologies in improving healthcare. Time will tell if the optimistic assurances offered patients and physicians turn out to be true. When consumers and citizens become patients, they need more than a digitized record of their physiology. At these times, no algorithm can offer what the person may need most: compassionate understanding, a pat on the shoulder and an kind encouraging word. Finding the best that technology and humanism can offer remains our challenge for the future.
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on April 22, 2012
While I would recommend this book to anyone, I would say it is an especially important, honest, and inspiring book for young doctors, nurses, and researchers. For doctors, the medical care that we learn, practice, and preach is shaped so much by research and guidelines that we barely understand or question. I couldn't agree more that patients, caregivers, healthcare workers, and policy-makers need to be better armed with information to make confident knowledgeable decisions about the new directions that healthcare will take. Through technology, there is a lot of hope and potential to bridge the divides in medicine and engage more voices, which have previously been left out of the healthcare conversation. There is also great potential to make healthcare more efficient and patient-centered. I agree that doctors and patients of the future should strive to tailor prevention, health, and treatment on the individual level. Dr. Topol's book contains a very rich analysis of the current literature, but through an engaging and passionate writing style that reflects his excitement about genomics and medicine. While he uses examples of current innovations, devices, and forward-thinking companies that show potential to improve health, I am impressed that he takes an unbiased, honest, and informative approach to provide us with the best resources and knowledge worth thinking about.
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on April 4, 2012
This book is a must for ANYONE who will ever be part of the health care system (as a provider or recipient of health care). Dr. Topol has written this book for the empowered consumer but as a physician who spent a career focusing on quality of care, I found it enlightening and fascinating. Dr. Topol takes us from the population based/guideline based medicine of today (WHEN we are lucky enough to have enough population based evidence for guidelines) to the individualized medicine of the not too distant future and explains how genomics and digitalization will make that possible. There are so many useful aspects to this book including a discussion of how to interpret the literature, how to evaluate the internet as a resource, how to select a top notch doctor and what kinds of conditions that is important for and so much more. Just to find about the MIT OpenCourseWare was worth the price of the book. This book is a major contribution from a doc who has been one of the major contributors to health care in this country. It was recommended to me by a cardiologist friend and I have recommended it to everyone from doc friends to musician friends. Lots of important content written with great clarity in a personal, almost conversational style that makes it a pleasure to read.
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