by Eric Topol
Deep Learning is helping to augment and redefine the role of both patients and healthcare practitioners.
Giving patients more ownership over their health through technology can improve their health outcomes.
Technology and advances in software can even change how practitioners work daily.
I was attending a conference hosted by Udacity, and Dr. Eric Topol was the featured guest speaker. The conference was excellent, and I was so inspired by it that I got a copy of the book and started reading it.
I’d specifically recommend this book to healthcare practitioners and medical specialists who use technology on an everyday basis in their work. Specifically, I think this is a book that radiologists should read. Beyond that, the book touches on topics related to gastric health and genetics, so I’d recommend this book to specialists in these fields as well.
I learned about companies and technologies changing how healthcare providers work with technology to empower their patients.
Now, I give more credit to audio-based software in the home, as the book discusses how we can engage with devices like Alexas and Siris to track our health and engage with healthcare experts.
I also now appreciate crowdsourcing more. The book talks about platforms where radiologists can tap into a vast network to get second opinions and feedback. InshAllah I can use these platforms more in my work.
“The extraordinary and rapid-fire success of neural networks in gaming has certainly fueled some of the wild expectations for AI in medicine. But the relative importance of games and people’s health couldn’t be further apart. It’s one thing to have a machine beat humans in a game; it’s another to put one’s health on the line with machine medicine. One of the reasons I cringe seeing the term “game changer” when it’s applied to purported medical progress.”
“The fundamentals—empathy, presence, listening, communication, the laying of hands, and the physical exam—are the building blocks for a cherished relationship between patient and doctor.”
“If you’ve ever experienced deep pain, you know how lonely and isolating it is, how no one can really know what you are feeling, the anguish, the sense of utter despair. You can be comforted by a loved one, a friend or relative, and that certainly helps. But it’s hard to beat the boost from a doctor or clinician you trust and who can bolster your confidence that it will pass, that he or she will be with you no matter what. That you’ll be okay. That’s the human caring we desperately seek when we’re sick. That’s what AI can help restore. We may never have another shot like this one. Let’s take it.”
This book taught me the value of intersecting technology and Deep Learning algorithms with medicine. Topol gives real-world examples from his own experience on how Deep Learning is changing medicine. He strikes a good balance between technical advances and human characteristics we need to engage with machines and computers in our digital age.
I think Topol is remarkably prescient in his work too. For example, he talked about technologies to read our blood oxygen, and wow, later, low and behold; the latest Apple Watch has a built-in blood oximeter. Topol’s book is a testament to his vision for 21st-century medicine, and I rely on his vision to shape how I will practice medicine one day inshAllah. As a side-note, I was inspired by what Topol illustrated during the Udacity conference, and in his book, I sent him an email. To my shock, he replied! This book will help guide my own medical decisions and what I think is possible to accomplish in our 21st-century medical field.
He offers reminders of traits that shape good doctors: compassion, kindness, empathy. These are all traits that I need to work on as well, as they will help me marry human traits with technology moving forward. I loved the practical example of his own experience when it came to healing after an injury. Texting a patient to check in on them is a kind gesture and a way to offer kindness. These small acts are habits I hope to embody moving forward in my medical practice inshAllah.