Robin Cook MD: “the solution to the primary care physician (shortage) is going to be the smartphone”

Medscape Coma Author Physician on his new medical thriller Cell

Eric Topol MD: “Cell is a fascinating book that in fact I couldn’t even put down because it basically captures this whole smartphone mobile health era in a way that is quite extraordinary so maybe you could just give the folks a little synopsis?

Robin Cook MD: “…Medicine is about to undergo an enormous change and to me it’s really surprising how few people are anticipating that. Even in our own profession, the Medical profession itself, I had this sense that people really don’t know and they’re still doing the same things that they shouldn’t of done in the past, for instance they are making it very difficult to talk to your Doctor. If you are a Patient and you want to talk to your Doctor, and now I can’t say all Doctors, but most Doctors have erected this ability to shield themselves so that whenever you call the office you always get the receptionist or if you’re lucky you get the nurse

Eric Topol MD: “well all of a sudden you’ve got this smartphone and you get to pick your Doctor

Robin Cook MD: “that’s right but even Doctors today don’t realise that most people are no longer trying to call their Doctor – they’re going on the internet or social media. This is what i noticed and that was really the origin of what I thought about for ‘Cell’. The other thing is that the whole rationale for our healthcare system is supposed to be lots of primary care Doctors, a few other specialists, super specialists – just a few of those, and then just one or two really specialist. The pyramid like this, what’s our pyramid? Our pyramid is upside down! We have all these specialists and we have no primary care physicians. And it’s never been solved and suddenly ​when i put all these things together I realised the solution to the primary care physician is going to be the smartphone. Because not just an app to monitor your blood pressure – ok you can do that fine – not just an app even to take a picture of your ear so the Doctor can look at it. The cellphone can do all of that together and why not? We have SIRI? Why not take it a step beyond? And suddenly I realised to myself we’re looking for Primary Care Physicians, we’re looking to lower costs, we want to incorporate geneomics, nanotechnology is coming down the line, IT is advancing so rapidly particularly with wireless sensors etc, this convergence of all these things… I woke up in the middle of the night – at 3 o’clock in the morning – and said “the cellphone is going to be the Doctor”… …and then I said how do I make this entertaining?

Natural Language Interface for 3G Doctor

In this great video interview by Medscape Editor-in-Chief Eric Topol MD of the New York Times best-selling author Robin Cook MD about his 33rd medical thriller, Cell (out tomorrow Feb 4 in hardcover), it’s clear that the medical professionals in the USA are also being blindsided by the rapidly evolving shift to Mobile.

Although I haven’t yet read this book (I better hurry as I’ve no doubt Hollywood won’t waste a breath rushing this to the box office) I’m quite sure the nighmare scenario it will depict will explain why we’ve decided at 3G Doctor to provide Patients with access to the documented advice of truly independent Doctors who aren’t in anyway linked to the interests of their employer or health insurer.

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