The digital future…is now

February 15, 2013 in Medical Technology

“We need a jailbreak.”

Those are hardly the words one expects to hear from a cardiologist, especially one whose passion for modernizing medical treatment has given him a worldwide reputation.

But that’s a direct quote from Eric J. Topol, MD, who will be the keynote speaker on Tuesday, March 5 at the HIMSS13 Annual Conference Exhibition.

Dr. Topol pitches his desire for “escape” early on in his latest book, “The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution will Create Better Health Care,” and what he’s talking about is the need to escape from the ways of practicing medicine which, in his eyes, have long outlived their usefulness.

The reason now is the time to escape the past, he says, “is because for the first time in history we can digitize humans.”

A leading researcher in genomics, Dr. Topol says “digitizing a human being is determining all of the letters (‘life codes’) of his or her genome – there are six billion letters in a whole genome sequence.  It is about being able to remotely and continuously monitor each heart beat, moment-to-moment blood pressure readings, the rate and depth of breathing, body temperature, oxygen concentration in the blood, glucose, brain waves, activity, mood – all the things that make us tick.”

Needless to say, the tools and expertise to do all that is where health IT professionals come in, and from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m, in Great Hall A of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Dr. Topol will offer his perspectives on the digital technology revolution and its applications for improving healthcare.

Among other things, Dr. Topol’s work has led to the discovery of the genes that increase a person’s risk of heart attack, and he has pioneered new drugs and new advances in the treatment of heart disease.

“We desperately need medicine . . .to be radically transformed,” Dr. Topol writes in his book.  “We need the digital world to invade the medical cocoon and to exploit the newfound and exciting technological capabilities of digitizing human beings.”

In his keynote address, Dr. Topol will provide a glimpse into the future that is now upon us.

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