The Creative Destruction of Medicine
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Praise for The Creative Destruction of Medicine

The Creative Destruction of Medicine…offers an illuminating perspective on the coming digitization of health care.”

—Ron Winslow, Wall Street Journal
“In [The Creative Destruction of Medicine]…Topol blasts current-day medicine as being archaic and wasteful, making his case with a compelling blend of statistics, anecdotes, and barbs aimed at health care’s Ancien Régime. If at times he seems a whiff too optimistic about the transforming impact of new medtech in the short term, he does a good job of explaining subtleties to a lay audience – such as why some genetic testing for predicting disease is valid and useful, and why much is not.”

—David Ewing Duncan, The Atlantic

“[The Creative Destruction of Medicine] should be required reading by all physicians and in all medical schools. It is simply that good.”

—Roger Blumenthal, Forbes

“Eric Topol provides a…look at why medicine is about to be ‘Schumpeterised’ (his word) by digital technology. [This book is] a godsend for those who suffer from Armageddon fatigue. [It] also remind[s] us that technology keeps improving despite economic gloom.”

—The Economist

“Readable and comprehensive…. [Dr. Topol] dispenses in short order with our current population-based medical strategies. They are wasteful and inexact, he points out, often marginally beneficial to the group and downright harmful to the individual. He presents an array of far better ideas, a few now actually being practiced in rudimentary form. These include pharmacogenomics, in which specific genes that govern responses to medications are routinely assayed, and cancer treatments that probe tumors for specific genetic targets rather than relying on standard chemotherapy. But that’s not all: Dr. Topol also points out that soon a person’s precise genetic data will be augmented by an extraordinary wealth of other digital data (provided by, say, the continuous monitoring of blood pressure, pulse and mood, and a variety of ultra-precise scans). The outcome will be nothing short of a new ‘science of individuality,’ one that defines individuals ‘at a more granular and molecular level than ever imaginable.’”

Abigail Zuger, M.D., New York Times

The Creative Destruction of Medicine is a tour de force romp through basically every type of cool new medical technology…. I’d encourage everyone to read the book. It’s a remarkable and relatively in depth (for a speed read) analysis of the state of the art in three areas in medicine (IT, genomics & clinical/disease) and it has several very interesting ideas – all with a strong dash of health services research and cost-effectiveness analysis mixed in…. All in all this is a great read and points the way to lots of possibilities for the future of medicine.”

Matthew Holt, The Health Care Blog

“A must-read that lays out a road map for how new technologies in genomics, information technology, and mobile medicine may completely change the way we treat and prevent illness. It’s highly recommended, because Topol has a unique vantage point: he’s one of the few researchers to have played an important role in the old, mass-market medicine world and the newer, genetically focused one.”


“Topol demonstrates how the digital revolution can be used to change individual care and prevention, and even the economics of American healthcare. From cell phones that automatically collect medical data, to biosensors, advanced imaging, individualized prescriptions and gene-specific drugs, Topol’s book leads readers through science-fiction-sounding scenarios that may soon be a reality.”


The Creative Destruction of Medicine – an allusion to economist Joseph Schumpeter’s description of ‘creative destruction’ as an engine of business innovation – is a venture capitalist’s delight, describing dozens of medical technologies that show great promise. The book also provides colorful anecdotes about Dr. Topol’s own sampling of these products, as both a doctor and stand-in patient…. [The book’s] most important contributions are in portraying how medical innovation will coalesce to change clinical practice and what the coming changes mean for today’s policy debates…. In Dr. Topol’s vision, innovation that enables real-time diagnosis and personalized treatments is a certainty, though not because reluctant or ‘sclerotic’ doctors accept it or because Washington wills it into being. A seductive technology that works like a dream and improves lives will set off a consumer clamor, whether the new tool is an iPhone 4S or an implantable blood-sugar meter.”

Wall Street Journal

“Topol does an excellent job of explaining all, and his enthusiasm for the possibilities of what the future holds is infectious. It can only be hoped, as the convergence he so convincingly predicts materializes, that the barriers erected by the gatekeepers of yesterday’s paradigms will be easily dismantled so as not to impede the benefits it promises.”

Boston Globe 

“An eye opening account of why conventional medicine is doomed…. [C]ompelling stuff…. [T]he book provides an excellent summary of the current state of medical genetics and how fast it is progressing, with examples that may surprise even those working in medicine.”

New Scientist

“Deriving inspiration from the economist Joseph Schumpeter, Topol proposes nothing less than the ‘creative destruction’ of medicine as it is currently practiced, replacing it with a brave new world in which interconnected technologies dramatically improve patient outcomes…. [T]he book is an enjoyable, high-level review of the current state of the field, intended for a general audience but referenced for those inclined to read more deeply. With its rich discussion of science and technology and companies specific to the last couple of years, this book certainly has contemporary relevance.”

Nature Genetics

“Topol makes the case that the masses of macro-data at our fingertips (literally), will unleash micro-level diagnostic and curative solutions never before imagined or hypothesized. It’s a remarkably bold vision that many experienced physicians will call naïve since it defies conventional wisdom – which is precisely why I think he’s on to something big.”

Longwoods eLetter

“[A] prescient view of the near future of medicine…. Every patient should read this book in order to understand the rapidly evolving role in they play in their own care…. The Creative Destruction of Medicine is a call to action for doctors and patients alike. We must see our world and our job as doctor and patient very differently. In a profession so uncertain of its future, we need precisely the vision and critical dialog offered here…. I suspect that 150 years from now when historians are looking back at the most dramatic flexion point in medicine’s history they’ll reference this book as one of the first to identify the start of medicine’s creative destruction.”

 Bryan Vartabedian, MD, 33

“The digital age opens up the possibility of a new type of medicine in which an individual’s health data are digitized using wearable sensors, smartphone apps and genome information, writes geneticist and cardiologist Eric Topol. With this wealth of data, medical interventions could be tailored to our uniqueness. Topol covers failures in patient information; what might happen if genomics, imaging, sensors and better health information were to converge; and the potential pitfalls of this brave new medical world.”


“Modern medicine needs a makeover. Topol, of the Scripps Research Institute, believes the process begins with embracing the digital world. His plan involves genomics, wireless biosensors, advanced imaging of the body, and highly developed health information technology. Smartphones will tie these elements together to make health care individualized,efficient, and accessible. Topol foresees a future medical landscape characterized by virtual house calls, remote monitoring, and a lessened need for hospitals.”



“[E]minently readable.”

Sharon Begley, Kirkus Reviews

“Topol weaves useful knowledge about how to evaluate the choices open to patients into this exciting account of the revolutionary changes we can expect.”


“The book makes a compelling case for the role of digital technology in bringing nimbleness to ossified healthcare systems worldwide.”

Calestous Juma, Harvard Kennedy School

“Our sequencing of the human genome eleven years ago was the beginning of the individualized medicine revolution, a revolution that cannot happen without digitized personal phenotype information. Eric Topol provides a path forward using your digitized genome, remote sensing devices and social networking to place the educated at the center of medicine.”

—J. Craig Venter,Chairman and President, J. Craig Venter Institute

“Eric Topol gives us an eye-opening look at what’s possible in healthcare if people can mobilize to charge the status quo. The Creative Destruction of Medicine is simply remarkable.”

—Clayton M.Christensen, Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School,and author of The Innovator’s Dilemma

“Eric Topol has been a longtime innovator in healthcare. In The Creative Destruction of Medicine, he cites the big waves of innovation that will save healthcare for the future. Real healthcare reform has not yet begun, but it will. The Creative Destruction of Medicine lays out the path.”

—Jeffrey Immelt,Chairman and CEO of General Electric

“This is the one book to read for a complete and clear view of our medical future, as enabled by the convergence of digital, mobile,genomic, and life science breakthroughs. Dr. Topol explains how iPhones, cloud computing, gene sequencing, wireless sensors, modernized clinical trials,internet connectivity, advanced diagnostics, targeted therapies and other science will enable the individualization of medicine—and force overdue radical change in how medicine is delivered, regulated, and reimbursed. This book should be read by patients, doctors, scientists, entrepreneurs, insurers,regulators, digital engineers—anyone who wants better health, lower costs, and participation in this revolution.”

—Brook Byers,Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

“Eric Topol is that rare physician willing to challenge the orthodoxies of his guild. He recognizes that in the U.S., health care business-as-usual is unsustainable. But he does not despair. He bears witness to the rise of Homodigitus and the promise it holds to upend the inefficiencies and dysfunction so entrenched in clinical medicine. The Creative Destruction of Medicine is a timely tour de force. It is a necessary heresy.”

—Misha Angrist, Assistant Professor, Duke Institute for Genome Sciences &Policy, and author of Here is a Human Being

“Eric Topol provides an excellent and pragmatic view of the U.S. healthcare system from a patient’s perspective. He then offers, through numerous examples, an exciting vision for the future ... when technology can be used to dramatically improve the quality of care and reduce cost at the same time. The Creative Destruction of Medicine is a highly informative and enjoyable book, which truly triggers the reader’s imagination as to what is possible.”

Omar Ishrak,Chairman and CEO of Medtronic

“Eric Topol has written an extraordinarily important book at just the right moment. Drawing upon a unique and impressive array of convergent expertise in medical research, clinical medicine, consumer and health technological advancements, and health policy, Dr. Topol opens the door for an essential discussion of old challenges viewed through an innovative lens. In the context of increasingly unaffordable health care costs, suboptimal quality of care delivery, a tsunami of preventable chronic illness, and new accountabilities for consumer’s health choices and behaviors, this book helps  all of us to think about solutions in new and exciting ways!”

Reed Tuckson, MD,Executive Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs, UnitedHealth Group

“It may sound like hyperbole, but it’s true: Medicine is undergoing its biggest revolution since the invention of the germ theory.As Eric Topol writes, thirty years ago, ‘digital medicine’ referred to rectal examinations. Dr. Topol is both a leader of and perfect guide to this brave new health world. His book should be prescribed for doctors and patients alike.”

—A. J. Jacobs,author of My Life as an Experiment and The Year of Living Biblically

“Much of the wealth created over the last decades arose out of a brutal transition from ABC’s to digital code. While creating some of the world’s most valuable companies, this process also upended whole industries and even countries. Now medicine, health care, and life sciences are undergoing the same transition. And, again, enormous wealth will be created and destroyed.This book is a road map of what is about to happen.”

—Juan Enriquez,Managing Director, Excel Venture Management, and author As the FutureCatches You

“Eric Topol outlines the creative destruction of medicine that must be led by informed consumers. Smart patients will push the many stakeholders in health to accelerate change as medicine adapts to a new world of information and technology.”

—Mehmet Oz, MD,Professor and Vice-Chair of Surgery, NY Presbyterian/Columbia University

“Health care is poised to be revolutionized by two forces—technology and consumerism—and Dr. Eric Topol explains why. One-size-fits-all medicine will soon be overtaken by highly personalized,customized solutions that are enabled by breakthroughs in genomics and mobile devices and propelled by empowered consumers looking to live longer, healthier lives. Fasten your seat belts and get ready for the ride—and learn what steps you can take to begin to take control of your health.”

—Steve Case,co-founder, AOL, and founder of Revolution LLC

“If we keep practicing medicine as we know it today,healthcare will become an unbearable burden. We are in a real race between healthcare innovation and the resistance to change of the medical system. In a comprehensive and well researched tour de force, Eric Topol, always a clear and uncompromising thought leader of his generation, challenges us to imagine the revolutionary potential of a world where medical information no longer belongs to a few and can be automatically collected from the many to greatly improve healthcare for all. This is a must read!”

—Elias Zerhouni, MD,President, Global R&D, Sanofi and former director, National Institutes of Health

The Creative Destruction of Medicine is an engaging look into how the discoveries in genetics and biology will change the landscape of medicine. Along the way, Dr. Topol provides a fascinating compendium of stories about the shortcomings of medicine as it is currently practiced and how the revolutionary discoveries coming since the first sequencing of the human genome a decade ago will shape the delivery of healthcare in the 21st century.”

—William R. Brody,MD, PhD, President, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies

“Dr. Topol believes that medicine, catalyzed by extraordinary innovation that exploits digital information, is about to go through its biggest shakeup in history. His newest book calls for a ‘jailbreak’ from the ideas of the past. In the next phase of medicine, powerful digital tools including mobile sensors and advanced processors will transform our understanding of the individual, enabling creative ‘mash-ups’ of data that will spark entirely new discoveries and spawn ultra-personalized health and fitness solutions. And with over 5.7 billion mobile connections worldwide, the mobile technology platform will have a major impact on that vision—leading to what Dr.Topol describes as nothing less than a ‘reboot’ of the health care system. Qualcomm, and its partners all around the world, are working to bring wireless innovations to market that will contribute to the solution. And we share Dr.Topol’s view that individual consumers have the opportunity, and the power, to increase the pace of the titanic change that’s coming.”

—Paul E. Jacobs,PhD, Chairman and CEO, Qualcomm Incorporated

“What happens when you combine cellular phone technology with the cellular aberrations in disease? Or create a bridge between the digital revolution with the medical revolution? How will minute biological sensors alter the way we treat lethal illnesses, such as heart attacks or cancer? This marvelous book by Eric Topol, a leading cardiologist, gene hunter and medical thinker, answers not just these questions, but many many more.Topol’s analysis draws us to the very front lines of medicine, and leaves us with a view of a landscape that is both foreign and daunting. He manages to recount this story in simple, lucid language—resulting in an enthralling and important book.”

—Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

“Eric Topol offers a new and intriguing perspective on how the intersections of medicine and technology could further transform the delivery of healthcare and the role of a patient. He advocates for a future world of medicine where informed consumers are in the driver seat and control their own healthcare based on genomic information and real-time data obtained through nanosensors and wireless technology.”

—John Martin,Chairman and CEO, Gilead Sciences

“What happens when the super-convergence of smart phones further combines with million-fold lower-cost genomics and diverse wearable sensors? The riveting answer leads to a compelling call to activism—not only for medical care providers, but all patients and everyone looking for the next ‘disruptive’ economic revolution. This future is closer than most of us would have imagined before seeing it laid out so clearly. A must-read.”

—George Church,Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School

“In an upbeat, comprehensive volume, Dr. Topol has woven the prevailing technological undercurrents of the post-PC world—its power of many; its Gucci of gadgets; its cloud ecosystem; its ‘Arab Spring’ of apps; and its ubiquitous, calm computing—with the disruptive innovations of biomedicine, to create a compelling account of how this bio-digital transformation will hasten personalization of the highest quality of medical care.”

—Eric Silfen, MD,Senior Vice-President and Chief Medical Officer, Philips Healthcare


“Dr. Topol is the top thought leader in medicine today, with exceptional vision for how its future can be rebooted. This book will create and catalyze a movement for the individualization and democratization of medicine—and undoubtedly promote better health care.”

—Greg Lucier, CEO, Life Technologies


“Eric Topol is the perfect author for this book.He has a unique understanding of both genomics and wireless medicine and has a remarkable track record as a charismatic pioneer, visionary, and change agent in medicine. I’m sure this book will reach a very large number of people with information that can both empower and help transform their lives for the better.”

Dean Ornish, M.D., Founder and President, Preventive Medicine Research Institute, and author of The Spectrum


“Dr. Eric Topol is an extraordinary doctor. He’s started a leading medical school, identified the first genes to underlie development of heart disease, led major medical centers, and been a pioneer of wireless medicine. But he is also a remarkable communicator—one of the few top-flight scientists in medicine to be able to genuinely connect with the public. He was, for example, the first physician researcher to question the safety of Vioxx—and unlike most who raise safety questions, actually succeed in bringing the concerns to public attention. I have known and admired Dr. Topol for a long time. I recommend him highly.”

Atul Gawande, M.D., author of The Checklist Manifesto


“Eric Topol is uniquely positioned to write such a timely and important book. He leads two institutions—one in genomics and one in wireless health—that will each play a huge role in transforming medicine in the twenty-first century. From this vantage point, he can see unifying themes that will underlie the coming revolution in population and personal health, and he communicates his vision with vibrant energy. Everyone will want to read this book.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        —James Fowler,Professor of Medical Genetics and Political Science, UC San Diego, and author of Connected

“[T]his is a highly accessible read about changes bound to shake up this industry that makes up about one-sixth of the U.S. economy.”

Luke Timmerman, Xconomy

The Creative Destruction of Medicine is an innovative look and inspiring journey into the transformation of medical practice and the future of health care brought forth by the digital age…. [A] well written, informative, and stimulating book.”

World Medical and Health Policy journal

Copyright © 2011 by Basic Books