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Aspen Ideas Festival: Dr. Eric Topol on 'Deep Medicine'

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Dr. Eric Topol talking about artificial intelligence and medicine.
Dr. Eric Topol at the Aspen Ideas Festival talking about artificial intelligence and human contact in health care.
Riccardo Savi | The Aspen Institute

Dr. Eric Topol is out with a new book titled, "Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again." 

"The problem we have today, is there's very little time, when you go to see a doctor. They don't have all the data, they don't have time to review it all." Topol added, "We have incomplete data, incomplete context, insufficient time, and we have this state of 'shallow medicine.'"

Over the course of his career, Topol says he has "seen the steady degradation of the human side of medicine." Since the early 1980s, he says, health care essentially became a big business, which "decreased the value of interactions, and increased the value of things like operations and procedures." 

The '90s brought electronic health records, which "converted doctors and nurses and all clinicians into data clerks. And that has basically led to this remarkable 'de-spiriting,' a disenchantment level we've never seen." 

Topol calls for "keyboard liberation ... keyboards are the common enemy of patients and doctors." He insists we need to restore face-to-face contact. 

Dr. Topol believes Artificial Intelligence and "deep learning" can be transformative. While some raise concerns about using AI in health care, Topol says "we have dehumanized health care. We have gutted the 'care' in health care. This is our only shot to get it back, that I know of."

Dr. Eric Topol, is a cardiologist and the founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. He's former chairman of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic.

He spoke June 23, 2019 with David Brooks of the New York Times on the opening weekend of the 2019 Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colorado.

To listen to their conversation, click the audio player above.