Eric Topol, MD, answers AT&T call

Renowned cardiologist to advise on all things healthcare
By Bernie Monegain
10:25 AM
Eric Topol, MD, answers AT&T call

AT&T has tapped noted heart surgeon, geneticist and author Eric Topol, MD, as its chief medical advisor. Topol is expected to impact the design, development and delivery of AT&T's healthcare IT solutions, executives say.

The goal is to connect the healthcare ecosystem to enhance health outcomes and care delivery processes for patients and their caregivers, according to AT&T officials.

Topol will continue in his position as the chief academic officer at Scripps Health, a San Diego-based health system.

"Dr. Topol is a change agent who has dedicated his career to creating awareness and promoting adoption of health IT solutions to improve patient care," said Chris Hill, senior vice president, advanced solutions, AT&T Business Solutions, in a news release. "Enlisting Dr. Topol into our AT&T ForHealth program will help us drive our competitive strategy as we focus on innovative solutions powered by our network."

[See also: AT&T launches 'ForHealth' division and a suite of new products.] and [AT&T launches 'ForHealth' division and a suite of new products.]

"Topol brings his extensive industry and health IT knowledge to the planning and execution of AT&T's healthcare industry program," according to an AT&T statement. "Dr. Topol will offer strategic guidance in key areas such as emerging devices and mHealth products and services. His input will enhance AT&T's existing health IT solutions and drive consumer and enterprise adoption in an increasingly digital world."

"With connected devices, the flow of health and medical information is going through a radical change, which puts patients in an exceptionally powerful and important position,” Topol said in a statement. "I'm honored to work with AT&T as we seek to develop new solutions that will change the trajectory of digital health and impact patient outcomes."

Besides his responsibilities for Scripps and AT&T, Topol is author of the best-selling book The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care, and editor-in-chief of Medscape. He is also the founder of Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. Topol has been involved with the evolution of wireless medicine since its emergence. He is elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Speaking at the 2013 HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition, Topol said: "We practice medicine today at a population level. We do everything the same. We don't recognize each person as an individual."

[See also: Topol talks healthcare's digital future.]

Digital health would change all that, he asserted, helped by smart phones, which he called the “lab on a chip.”

"We desperately need medicine ... to be radically transformed," Topol writes in his book. "We need the digital world to invade the medical cocoon and to exploit the newfound and exciting technological capabilities of digitizing human beings."