Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again

Robert D. Atkinson March 12, 2019
March 12, 2019

As Rob Atkinson writse in a book review for the New York Journal of Books, anyone who has experience with the U.S. healthcare system will find a lot to agree with in Dr. Eric Topol’s "Deep Medicine". Topol, a cardiologist, medical researcher, and author, argues that medicine as it is practiced today is “shallow” rather than deep, and that accounts for many of its problems. By deep, Topol is referring to more meaningful encounters between clinician and patient, rather than a quick visit with a doctor. To get to a world of “deep medicine,” Topol argues that artificial intelligence (AI) will play a key role.

If the reader should take one lesson away from this book, it is don’t place complete trust in your doctor, for most are prone to make avoidable errors. Topol not only describes many cases he has seen in his clinical practice where clinicians made errors, he reviews the medical literature. This is where AI could come in. While Topol is optimistic about the promise of AI, he is not Pollyannaish and in fact argues that for the most part AI is not ready for broad applications like diagnosis of diseases and recommendations of treatment.

It's clear that, if the United States wants to cut health care costs, improve outcomes, and help patients take more ownership of their health, AI-enabled medicine will need to be a top priority.