Why So Many Medical Advances Never Make it to Mainstream Medicine

Eric Topol on why promising technologies like smartphone ultrasound struggle to achieve widespread adoption

For more than a decade, engineers have been innovating their way through the nascent field of digital medicine: creating pills with sensors on them, disease-detecting facial recognition software, tiny robots that swim through the body to perform tasks, smartphone-based imaging and diagnostics, and sensors that track our vitals. But for all that creativity, only a small portion of these inventions get widely adopted in health care. In an essay published today in Science Translational Medicine, Eric Topol, a cardiologist, geneticist, digital medicine researcher, and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, discusses the state of digital medicine, ten years in. IEEE Spectrum caught up with Topol to ask a few questions for our readers.

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