Consumer-Driven Health Care and the Reshaped Physician

September 17, 2012

After an introductory medley of hard-hitting technofunk, Eric Topol reminds us that in a world of consumer-driven health care, the physician will be reshaped.

In the future, with each person potentially armed with so much data and information, the role of the doctor is a very different one: It is to provide guidance, wisdom, knowledge, and judgment and, of course, the critical aspects of compassion, empathy, and communication.  That is a whole different look for the consumer-driven healthcare world of the future.

Perhaps more important than the force of the health 2.0 movement is how physicians respond individually and as a profession.  Physicians can be reshaped or participate in their own reformation.

To see the full landscape of Topol’s outlook read his bestselling book, The Creative Destruction of Medicine.


Seth Kelly September 18, 2012 at 9:36 am

Another interesting aspect: the patient’s access to the physician. With so much information available to the consumer–though not always reliable–it would seem that a healthcare system that is unable or unwilling to respond to a patient’s need for information in real time would be at a disadvantage. Simply, the system as it stands today is just not nimble enough to meet the information demands of the consumer. If the physician is to remain the trusted source for advice and treatment (which arguably should be the case) , this must be addressed through technology adoption, business process change, or some other method.

Sara McFarland September 19, 2012 at 10:54 am

It is important for physicians to be aware of how their role in care and how patients shop for their care is going to change in the upcoming years. It is refreshing to see someone point out how physicians can help patients become more in control of their own health care process without removing themselves from the process. Physicians must be aware of the valuable, reliable resources out there and push those for patients. Then, they will be valued for their expertise and their compassion by patients. The best place to start is to share news about price transparency in a consumer-driven patient market. Sharing tools for price transparency to help patients understand health care costs and where to get the best deals, will be invaluable to them as consumers. They will remember the physician that told them about Save On Medical or similar tools.

Franz Wiesbauer September 20, 2012 at 6:21 am

Not so sure what’s so different from today: gudance, wisdom, knowledge, judgement, empathy, communication

DrV September 23, 2012 at 9:04 am

Franz, what’s different is that we as docs once did the diagnostics and provided the information. Some of that role is shifting. Yes, we’ve always offered these things but I think that they’ll have a different role as patients do more on their own.

Mary Terhune, RN September 25, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I agree that the consumer will be driving health care instead of the drug and insurance companies. I have found as an RN and Homeopath that consumers want to be informed and having their own health kit of safe, effective FDA approved remedies to treat acute issues like teething, a cold, the flu, bee sting, poison ivy etc. without drugs and side-effects. I teach affordable classes for the public to educate them on homeopathic medicine and how it once was being practiced by 1 out of 4 MD’s in the U.S. before competing forces drove it out. It’s the real People’s Medicine! Mothers, in particular, love having an alternative to the side-effects of drugs and find homeopathic remedies are more effective and have no side effects! Homeopathy puts the person in the driver’s seat teaching them how to know the importance of their symptoms, how they can help themselves or to know when to go to the doctor’s office if needed. This information and kits could empty out emergency rooms from minor acute issues preventing chronic problems and allow a person to truly take responsibility. Allopathy and Homeopathy are meant to work side by side with each other; this is my dream!

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