For most people, the way that they receive health care hasn't changed in ages: they make an appointment days, weeks or months in advance, spend what could be hours in the waiting room, and see a doctor for a few minutes, maybe get a few tests and then wait for the results.
It is an expensive, inefficient and a huge inconvenience for patients.
That is why Jim Cramer has recently turned his focus to the companies that are trying to change the paradigm, such as Teladoc. Now one of the most influential scientists in the U.S. has made the argument that technology will revolutionize the future of medicine, and make it more patient-centric and democratic.
Dr. Eric Topol is a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute and editor-in-chief of Medscape.com. Earlier in the year he wrote a groundbreaking book entitled "The Patient Will See You Now," about how technologies such as the cloud, big data and smartphones, along with medical advances such as genome sequencing will give patients control over the health care system.
Cramer thinks the book is not only revelatory, but just plain smart. That is why he spoke with Dr. Topol, to discuss the future of what medicine could hold.
"Medicine today is one-off. You go to the doctor and get this one measurement, a lab test. But the medicine of the future, and it's starting right now, is real-time streaming in your real world," Dr. Topol said.
Dr. Topol could foresee a future where blood pressure and glucose monitoring in a watch that detects the patient's every heartbeat could be right around the corner.
For instance, patients spend thousands of dollars every year to go to expensive sleep labs to monitor sleeping patterns. Dr. Topol showed Cramer a ring from Finland that could capture brain waves for sleeping patterns. After all, who would still have a normal sleep pattern in an expensive sleep lab? Technology in a patient's own setting and home could change the game.
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The common ingredient? Control of data.
"The theme here Jim, is about the patient generating their own data. It's a big thing," Dr. Topol said.
The doctor commented on the recent heat that the pharmaceutical community has been under, saying that the issue that the medical community is facing stems from a mismatch between pricing and effectiveness. There are a lot of drugs for rare diseases that are very effective, but at an extraordinary expense.
"That's the problem, is that the cost of these drugs are so high. But the ability to generate information from a gene mutation to a drug is going to be at all-time fastest velocity," he said.