You get sick; you go to your doctor. Too bad. Because medicine isn't an industry, it's practically witchcraft. Despite the growth of big pharma, HMOs, and hospital chains, medicine remains the isolated work of individual doctors—and the system is going broke fast.
So why is Andy Kessler—the man who told you outrageous stories of Wall Street analysts gone bad in Wall Street Meat and tales from inside a hedge fund in Running Money—poking around medicine for the next big wave of technology?
It's because he smells change coming. Heart attacks, strokes, and cancer are a huge chunk of medical spending, yet there's surprisingly little effort to detect disease before it's life threatening. How lame is that—especially since the technology exists today to create computer-generated maps of your heart and colon?
Because it's too expensive—for now. But Silicon Valley has turned computing, telecom, finance, music, and media upside down by taking expensive new technologies and making them ridiculously cheap. So why not the $1.8 trillion health care business, where the easiest way to save money is to stop folks from getting sick in the first place?
Join Kessler's bizarre search for the next big breakthrough as he tries to keep from passing out while following cardiologists around, cracks jokes while reading mammograms, and watches twitching mice get injected with radioactive probes. Looking for a breakthrough, Kessler even selflessly pokes, scans, and prods himself.
CT scans of your heart will identify problems before you have a heart attack or stroke; a nanochip will search your blood for cancer cells--five years before they grow uncontrollably and kill you; and baby boomers can breathe a little easier because it's all starting to happen now.
Your doctor can't be certain what's going on inside your body, but technology will. Embedding the knowledge of doctors in silicon will bring a breakout technology to health care, and we will soon see an end of medicine as we know it.
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After turning $100 million into $1 billion riding the technology wave of the late 1990s, Andy Kessler recounted his experiences on Wall Street and in the trenches of the hedge fund industry in the books Wall Street Meat and Running Money (and its companion volume, How We Got Here). Though he has retired from actively managing other people's money, he remains a passionate and curious investor. Unable to keep his many opinions to himself, he contributes to the Wall Street Journal, Wired, and lots of Web sites on a variety of Wall Street and technology-related topics, and is often seen on CNBC, FOX, and CNN. He lives in Silicon Valley like all the other tech guys.From Publishers Weekly:
Kessler, bestselling author of Running Money, made his fortune speculating on Silicon Valley. Now he turns his nose for new technology to medicine. Will the same advances that revolutionized computers ripple through hospitals, changing how health care works? Kessler interviews doctors, technicians, radiologists and the businessmen behind technology in medicine. Advances in radiology—which encompasses all the ways we peek inside our bodies, from X-rays to MRIs—are beginning to make our hospitals look like Star Trek. New scanners can provide a high-resolution, three-dimensional image of the heart and allow doctors to spot blockages. Computer-aided diagnostic software is slowly replacing radiologists in looking for cancer in mammograms. But HMOs, lawsuits and patients' desire for personal care may prevent these new techniques from ever being used. As Kessler asks, "What if the future was here with no one to pay for it?" Kessler has a raconteur's ability to entertain, and his outsider's view of medicine is far from typical in a book on health care. However, his narrative is fractured by too many entertaining anecdotes, preventing his story from moving forward. The hors d'oeuvres are delicious, but in this meal, there's not enough room left over for the meat. (July)
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