Health at Google talk by Dr Eric Topol

Watching another great talk by Dr Eric Topol MD (this time at Google’s office) and something struck me about a striking difference between the way Doctors talk about and understand the internet and the way that people who work in that industry seem to.

When Eric asks what’s this picture of and even gives them the clue that it was filmed at San Diego zoo not one member of the audience even attempts a guess that it was Jawed Karim’s “Me at the zoo” – the first video ever uploaded to YouTube on the 23rd April 2005 (Yes YouTube with it’s 1 billion unique users watching over 6 billion hours of video per month – 40% on mobile devices already – hasn’t yet even made it to 10 years of age!):

In my work trying to get Doctors to feel confident about having a mobile phone help them document a Patient’s history I get the feeling that today’s best Doctors really feel a need to appreciate and understand the structural history of things. To think things through, consider and be confident about the detail. Contrastingly internet developers don’t seem stressed about the history of what they do because they are so preoccupied with creating new ways of using available tech. Maybe this explains the limited success of Google’s attempts to apply big data to healthcare problems?

I think that to develop for mHealth it’s critical that we understand and appreciate the detail (because the healthcare system that we need to evolve is a swollen mess of unsustainable adaptations of 3,000 year old business models that are going through a massive transition) but remain mindful that there is huge potential in Doctors thinking more like Google Execs and Google Execs thinking more like Doctors…

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