The famed digital health pioneer talks about his new book, Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again. The potential is immense, he says, but the U.S. needs a plan. Dr. Eric Topol, founder and director of Scripps Research Translational Institute, is a longtime healthcare visionary. A cardiologist, geneticist and digital health pioneer, his ideas have been at the forefront of healthcare technology for decades.Topol’s research and reporting on emerging tech, data, devices, personalized medicine and more have been explored in four books the most recent of which, Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again, was published today.Healthcare has made some big strides with information and technology, says Topol, but too much of that has been to its detriment. Technology has helped make the practice of medicine “robotic,” he writes, “to disastrous effect.”Physicians are burned out, patient experience is suboptimal, to say the least, and medical errors abound. But artificial intelligence holds the potential to help fix all of that.”If we exploit machines’ unique strengths to foster an improved bond between humans,” he says, “we’ll have found a vital remedy for what profoundly ails our medicine today.”There are big challenges ahead, and healthcare professionals will “need to be prepared to fight against some powerful vested interests, to not blow this opportunity to stand up for the primacy of patient care,” Topol says.But properly and humanely deployed, AI and and machine learning have to potential to restore efficiency to a wide array of burdensome healthcare processes, freeing up physicians to treat their patients in the way they deserve, he says. “The path won’t be easy, and the end is a long way off. But with the right guard rails, medicine can get there.”

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