How Digitization, Twitter and Sensors Will Put You in Control of your Health Care

Dr. Eric Topol began his 125th OHSU Anniversary lecture by asking the audience how many were on Twitter and then illustrating why Twitter is an important source of medical information and will only get more so.  One example was that patients with a particular disease now find other patients with the same disease and get their medical information from those patients … who they don’t even know and have never met.

Topol on Digitizing

Reflecting on his book, the Creative Destruction of Medicine, Dr. Topol spoke persuasively about the impact of digitization of our medical records and the power of sensors to provide critical information to our doctors.  Most interesting was his discussion about sensors now available to connect with our smartphones.  They include sleep, blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, glucose and even cardiogram sensors to allow us to monitor ourselves, identify our problems even our needs using apps available for our smartphones.  Imagine checking our glucose levels to see if we really need that big meal in front of us.  Or getting a reading on whether or not we have sleep apnea.  Or identifying that high stress event that runs our blood pressure through the roof.  These examples and more were described.

Dr. Topol’s big 4 ways we humans are being digitized – with direction on how we can contribute to and control that digitization – are social media, sensors, scanners and sequencing, and he describes each of them clearly. He even shows a movie of Stephen Colbert’s broken ear drum that he visualized with an app on his smartphone during his interview on the Colbert show.

You can see this all for yourself: Click here to see this fascinating lecture.