Healthcare Technology Featured Article

February 06, 2014

Dr. Eric Topol Joins the Wide Open Road of mHealth as AT&T as Chief Medical Advisor

Last fall Verizon announced FDA approval for their Converged Health Management System, a remote patient monitoring platform to connect doctors with patient vitals using HIPPA level security. Now AT&T is upping the ante, announcing the appointment of Eric Topol, MD as Chief Medical Advisor, in charge of design, development and delivery of the company’s healthcare IT solutions.

Healthcare IT is a loosely defined field including everything from prescription drug tracking and appointment setting, to remote health monitoring and patient consultation, and right now it’s all falling under the banner of mobile healthcare or mHealth. While still a great innovation, providers quickly discovered that tons of patient-provided data could be overwhelming without a structure to assess the data within a workflow. Some physicians aren’t even sure they want to be required to process all the data available via non-FDA approved apps, and express concern that patients could become overly dependent on their personal interpretation of data available for their viewing. Call it the WedMD effect, but doctors don’t have time to talk down every patient who’s become a self-approved medical expert.

Verizon’s Health Monitoring System transmits personal health data to physicians through the cloud in a seamless data flow, requiring no manual input. The goal is to integrate real-time data into patient records, creating an ongoing health report and saving on the costs of office visits. Increasing patient engagement in their own health records and care is also a priority.

AT&T has also been developing broad responses to the challenges impacting healthcare today through the AT&T ForHealth program, looking for the most efficient and profitable ways to address healthcare gaps. Initiatives include mobile health monitoring and examination, provider efficiency, cloud storage and transmission, and online health care coordination. They also include healthcare advances in the work of AT&T Labs research center and AT&T Foundry development program, including a mobile communication tool that allows users to share information from third-party apps with family, friends or physicians. Ultimately physicians and patients could set personal health goals which can be regularly reported and responded to.

Topol has a celebrated background including cardiology, genetics and research. He was the founder of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine and will continue as Chief Academic Officer at Scripps Health. In a 2012 poll from Modern Healthcare he was voted the most influential physician executive and is elected to the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences. He will move forward to not only help AT&T develop productive and profitable healthcare applications, but navigate the gauntlet of regulation and privacy concerns surrounding the field. Information on all AT&T’s initiatives to address healthcare delivery can be viewed at 

Edited by Ryan Sartor

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