Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Eric Topol’
Digital health is propelled by many different drivers: genomics research that allows for inexpensive, accurate sequencing (and biomarker discovery), smart phone and internet technology that provides consumers with access, and the increased power of consumers to demand remote healthcare services. Perhaps as a symptom of this increased demand (or at least awareness), we’ve observed digital health as a topic on two popular television shows.
Recently, Dr. Eric Topol, author of The Creative Destruction of Medicine and an advocate of these drivers who provides much commentary on digital health, appeared on the television show The Doctors. What was significant about this appearance?
- He reached a large, mostly consumer audience with the message of digital health and the innovations that are happening vis-à-vis empowerment provided to patients by mobile devices.
- He introduced biomarkers for certain diseases and the sensing technologies for them, and showed how powerful the combination can be in disease prediction and prevention.
- By illustrating the power of a smart-phone attached electrocardiogram, he underscored the notion that consumers/patients will be connected to their doctors remotely.
As consumers become more informed and empowered, they will continue to drive the disruption of healthcare delivery in the U.S. and elsewhere, helping to bend the cost curve downward, states Dr. Topol. This will happen as more healthcare is handled outside of hospitals, ensuring healthier consumers who are less likely to need care, and moving us into the realm of disease prevention.
As these changes are rapidly altering the healthcare landscape, it’s important to note how we got here. Former President Bill Clinton noted recently on The Daily Show that it was the collaboration of government, non-profits and the private sector that gave us both digital technology and the genomics advances behind digital health (he specified how San Diego, California, was transformed from a Naval center into a genomics/digital hub, thanks to companies like Qualcomm, the San Diego mayor’s office, the University of California, San Diego, and the non-profit J. Craig Venter Institute). Genomics is an important component of the digital revolution we’ve seen mostly in the academic and research worlds thus far, but which will be a big part of medicine and healthcare going forward.
What did you think of Dr. Topol’s appearance on The Doctors? How close are we to the “disease prevention” model of modern healthcare? Is the San Diego formula of private/public/non-profit partnership the only successful one? What do you make of a former U.S. president spending part of a TV interview speaking about digital health? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Tags: digital health, digital revolution, disease prevention, disruption of healthcare, Dr. Eric Topol, genomics, The Doctors
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As we’ve discussed, Eric Topol’s “How to Change Medicine” provides valuable insights on how tailoring treatments in the clinic could boost health care effectiveness and lower costs. But we at Popper and Company would like to see industry take an additional step by using the techniques Dr. Topol recommends for patient care to develop drugs more efficiently.
The technology Topol recommends to stratify patients could also streamline drug development. In fact, the FDA is suggesting that faster approvals of antibiotics could result from smaller clinical trials that test antibiotics targeted against drug-resistant bacteria.
We now know enough about molecular biology that we can apply genomics/proteomics/metabolomics to drug development (DNA screening, identifying and validating surrogate markers, or characterizing tumors by genetic makeup). However, tailored treatments can run into challenges, including heterogeneity in tumor cells as recently described in the New England Journal of Medicine, that resist even targeted biological treatments.
But as our pace of understanding accelerates, even knowing that tumor cell heterogeneity exists can allow us to use animal models to find correlations between gene expression and proteomics that show the progression of cancer.
There is currently a tsunami of genetic information that is being applied to diagnostics and disease management. Genetic testing is available for 2,000 conditions, and that number is expected to rise rapidly. Better preclinical characterization of drugs, more targeted applications of new and existing compounds, and a focus on actionable genes like EGFR, BRAF and many others could make tailored, cost-effective treatments a reality.
Do you think the life sciences industry has enough biological knowledge at our disposal to create a new world of tailored treatments? Or does the tumor heterogeneity study show that what we don’t know can stymie our efforts? What other methods can tailor treatment development? Share your ideas and thoughts with us here.
Tags: Dr. Eric Topol, Dr. Topol, drug development, health care effectiveness, How to Change Medicine, tailored treatments, treatment development
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There appear to be a growing number of revolutions in health care and the life sciences industry. Whether you’re considering the genomics revolution, the information revolution, or the empowered patient revolution, a strong need to “fix” our health care system – to address the various inefficiencies that cause costs to increase and that put quality of care at risk – seems to be at the root of these movements.
Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and scientist at the Scripps Research Institute, recently published a short article on “How to Change Medicine.” The article, which is excerpted from Dr. Topol’s book, The Creative Destruction of Medicine, provides nine key steps to changing health care delivery: from changing focus from populations to individual patients, to using genomic data to help “fit” treatments for each patient, to redesigning the way doctors are reimbursed.
We agree with all of Dr. Topol’s suggestions, but suggest that there should be a 10th step. Controlling the spiraling costs of drug development is essential to realizing the other changes to the U.S. health care system. Today, it costs more than $1 billion for the discovery and development of new treatments. Since “blockbuster” drugs are so called because they generate $1 billion or more in revenue, even an immensely successful drug may no longer be profitable (and blockbuster drugs are becoming increasingly rare). Some of Dr. Topol’s steps do hint at ways to address these costs:
- By changing health care’s focus from the population to the individual, tailored drug development could produce more effective drugs that work for smaller groups of patients, reducing clinical trial sizes, and cutting costs.
- Using genomic data to determine whether a drug benefits a certain patient should underlie the creation of companion diagnostics as well as tailored therapies; this pharmacogenomic approach would speed development (less time to market theoretically means sooner time to profit).
- “Step 7,” which advocates the rewarding of providers for frugal innovation (e.g., using treatments that improve outcomes and cut costs) can be applied to drug development that considers cost-effectiveness as well as efficacy when creating a new therapy.
Addressing health care costs without emphasizing the need to reduce R&D costs strikes us as akin to worrying about your grocery bill when your mortgage eats up the majority of your budget. Future posts on this blog will address drug development innovations that could help tame this billion-dollar monster, including “low-hanging” fruit (like smaller trials and targeted therapies) that could easily reduce costs in a short period of time.
Do you agree with Dr. Topol’s nine steps? Do you think that reducing drug development costs is a key factor in revolutionizing health care? Could there be enough “low-hanging” solutions to make a difference now? Please share your thoughts with us.
Tags: changing health care delivery, Dr. Eric Topol, health care changes, How to Change Medicine, The Creative Destruction of Medicine, Topol's 9 steps to better health care
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Today, patients are no longer patients in the traditional sense; they are consumers who are demanding to know more about their own bodies and health conditions. Advances in digital technology and information on the Internet are helping to meet this demand. Some professionals, like Dr. Eric Topol, suggest that “patient power” is not only inevitable, but could be essential to fixing the health care delivery system in the United States – and we at Popper and Company tend to agree.
Hugo Campos is one individual who underscores this newfound power. Mr. Campos has a defibrillator implanted in his chest that automatically alerts his doctor if he experiences sudden cardiac arrest. As a recent MEDCITY News article illustrates, Mr. Campos is creating controversy in the medical device and health care industries by requesting to see the raw data from his defibrillator.
We’ll be writing more about Dr. Topol’s vision and the role of the empowered patient in future blog posts as we see this as a critical topic for medical device and diagnostic companies to consider. If you have thoughts or questions on this topic, please share them here.
Tags: Dr. Eric Topol, empowered patient, empowering patients, health care system, patient power, power of the patient, role of the patient
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