Health IT

Topol says machines will be vital to healthcare transformation, new doc-patient partnership

Prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla may end up ruffling a few feathers after he recently likened what doctors do to witchcraft and predicted that technology will replace 80 percent of a doctor’s expertise in the future.

Khosla was one of the co-founders of Sun Microsystems before becoming a successful VC. So when it comes to technology and the future, people pay a lot of attention to what he has to say.

Khosla made these comments in his keynote speech at the Health Innovation Summit hosted by Rock Health last week as doctors in the room reportedly sat in stunned silence when he challenged them to disprove his arguments.

One healthcare VC who also has a degree in medicine tweeted:

But a practicing doctor, prominent cardiologist, technology evangelist and author of the Creative Destruction of Medicine, Eric Topol disagreed without showing a sense of outrage. Topol tweeted:

On Wednesday, in response to questions, Topol expanded on his thoughts regarding Khosla’s view of healthcare and medicine in an e-mail.

We are completely aligned on the need for radical transformation of medicine via technology–including digital, genomics, imaging–(my book Creative Destruction of Medicine). But we differ on whether this will lead to a massive 80% [replacement] of the physician work force. I believe we have no shortage looming, as so many have projected–because of the great innovations that empower consumers with their own precious data, and the new model of patient-physician partnership will evolve.

He concluded by adding that he wasn’t offended and that Khosla is a “friend and provocateur.”

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