10 Tech Advances That Can Change Medicine

| Disclosures | December 16, 2016

Dear Medscape Colleagues,

Last year, I put out my first top 10 tech list, and it seemed to get a lot of interest. So here is this year's list, not in any rank order. There are many more important advances than I list here, but I have focused on the ones that can make a real difference for patients and patient care. I have no conflict of interest with any of the companies listed here.

Artificial intelligence Comes to Medicine

Artificial intelligence (AI) has hit its stride in many other areas of our daily lives, and it is starting to demonstrate the kind of impact it can have in medicine. The extraordinary ability of AI to accurately interpret pathology slides, x-rays, skin lesions, and retinas has recently been shown.[1] There are over 90 start-up companies working on AI applications in healthcare, no less the engagement of tech titans that include IBM (Watson), Apple, Google, and Microsoft, all of which have made major investments. A recent 60 Minutes segment filmed at the University of North Carolina suggested that AI could find an evidence-based therapy for 30% of patients with cancer that was not identified by their oncologists.

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  1. Jha S, Topol EJ. Adapting to artificial intelligence radiologists and pathologists as information specialists. JAMA. 2016 Nov 29. [Epub ahead of print]

  2. Lanman RB, Mortimer SA, Zill OA, et al. Analytical and clinical validation of a digital sequencing panel for quantitative, highly accurate evaluation of cell-free circulating tumor DNA. PLoS One. 2015;10:e0140712.

  3. Cyranoski D. CRISPR gene-editing tested in a person for the first time. Nature. 2016;539:479.

  4. DeWitt MA, Magis W, Bray NL, et al. Selection-free genome editing of the sickle mutation in human adult hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells. Sci Transl Med. 2016;8:360ra134.

  5. Radin JM, Topol EJ, Andersen KG, Steinhubl SR. A laboratory in your pocket. Lancet. 2016;388:1875.

  6. Mirelman A, Rochester L, Maidan I, et al. Addition of a non-immersive virtual reality component to treadmill training to reduce fall risk in older adults (V-TIME): a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2016;388:1170-1182.

Authors and Disclosures


Eric J. Topol, MD

Director, Scripps Translational Science Institute; Chief Academic Officer, Scripps Health; Professor of Genomics, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape

Disclosure: Eric J. Topol, MD, has disclosed the following relevant financial relationships:
Serves as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, or consultant for: Apple; Cypher Genomics; Dexcom; Edico Genome; GenapSys; Gilead Sciences; Google; Illumina; Molecular Stethoscope; MyoKardia; Quanttus; Quest Diagnostics; ToSense; Walgreen Company
Received research grant from: National Institutes of Health; Qualcomm Foundation

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