Your Computer Is the Next Wonder Drug (Video)

Your Computer Is the Next Wonder Drug (Video)

For those who have been following the blog, you know that I recently spoke at the SXSW conference in Austin (more details here including why pharma companies should care). My talk was entitled: Your Computer Is the Next Wonder Drug.

The idea is simple and here’s how I described the talk on the SXSW site:

A few times each year, the press buzzes about the latest scientific advance that will someday cure any one of the diseases we fear the most. Nearly every one of these will turn out to be nothing more than a news story and far from a pill that can help improve our health.

We spend hundreds of millions of dollars every day on research, as we struggle to find the “magic bullet” that will rid the world of conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. We almost never find the magic.

While the big, historic scientific advances may be what dominate the headlines, in the end, it’s the small improvements and better utilization of the technology we have already have that will ultimately lengthen ourlives and improve its quality. These technologies don’t come from labs filled with test tubes or cell cultures, but rather from labs filled with computers and the programs that run them.

In the future, it will be digital technologies that prevent, treat, and finally cure diseases and not the latest “blockbuster” drug that has yet to be discovered (and might never be). Digital technologies can already help us understand which treatments are best for us, what diseases pose the greatest risk, and how diseases spread among us. They can improve our interactions with doctors and improve access to care for everyone.

Instead of waiting for the next miracle drug to be developed, you might find the miracle was there all along right inside the computer you use every day.

You’ll be hearing and seeing more about this topic on Dose of Digital in the future. It’s going to be the focus of a book I’m working on that I hope you’ll get to see sometime in the not terribly distant future (but think in terms of years, not months).

I was pleased with the way the talk went, but I wish more of you could have been there to hear it. Fortunately, I have a solution. Through the power of video, you can see what you missed right here. I’ll embed the video at the end of this post, but I recommend you click through to watch the HD version, in full screen mode, as you’ll be able to see more of the slide details.

By the way, if you work for a pharma company and are wondering why you should care about this, here’s the short answer:

In the future, digital technologies, and not blockbuster drugs, will  prevent, treat, and cure the diseases that kill us.

That means that the smart pharma companies should start looking at the way IBM evolved from a company that sells computers to one that sells services. Question is: can any pharma companies make this leap? I’ll be talking a lot more about this in the future, so stay tuned.

On with the video…here’s a direct link to the HD version. If the video below isn’t working on your device, then follow the direct link. It’ll work on any device including iPhones and iPads. Advance warning, the video is 50 minutes, so set some time aside. I think it’ll be worth it.

Your Computer Is the Next Wonder Drug from Jonathan Richman on Vimeo.

Special thanks to my creative team of Scott Hoverman, Colleen Reed, and John Cobb (who did the illustrations) for making me look good by designing the presentation that didn’t look quite as nice in the draft version I created.

I’m still looking for more examples of the types of technologies you will see in the presentation for future talks and blog posts (and for the book). If you know of one or you company makes one, then I want to hear about it. Use the contact form to get in touch with me.

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8 thoughts on “Your Computer Is the Next Wonder Drug (Video)

  1. Great Stuff Jonathan.

    I agree that the socialization of information on the web is unlocking more information than any clinical trial or wonder drug on the horizon. But social media can’t do it without corporate participation. Many of us, thankfully, are covered by health insurance provided by our companies. We have got to get the information digital, get the insurance companies out of the treatment path and move to the next generation of healthcare services.

    I work for WhiteGlove House Call Health where we are delivering primary care directly to the patient’s home or office, even on nights and weekends. And not one piece of paper is generated as a result of our routine visit. The entire process is handled on an Apple iPad and then relayed back to our technical services that takes care of the rest.

    Dose of Digital is going a long way towards creating that openness that we need. Thanks for all you do.

    John McElhenney
    Director of Social Marketing – WhiteGlove House Call Health

    1. Thanks, John. I’m a fan of these “concierge” type plans, but I hope someone can figure out a way to scale this. Is it possible for every person to get this kind of care or just those who can afford the premiums? Just by looking at the number of doctors versus people, that could be a real challenge despite the value of this type of care. Looking forward to seeing how this plays out.


      1. Jonathan, well “concierge” is not really our model either. Our annual membership plan is $420 inclusive, billed 50/50 at 6 months. We are trying to make this type of care affordable. And scalability is only possible through technology and paperless innovations. While the $2k concierge docs might have gotten the conversation started, WhiteGlove is bringing the home visit option to everyone. We have over 650k members in Texas, Boston and Phoenix. So we ARE scaling as fast as we can.


  2. This is great content. And from a presentation note, I love how you put this video together as a combo slidecast and presentation video. You had the whole dais to yourself. Sweet!

    1. Thanks, Kevin. Had to show off my Adobe Premiere Pro “skills” (which are
      hardly “skills”).

  3. I agree that the computer is the next wonder drug. Actually, if the computers are the next wonder drugs, marketing or social media is the ingredients of the drug. The video is also one compelling creation. thanks for sharing this one. I might need to use videos to incorporate in the service I got from advancedwebads’ unlimited banner impressions and click service.

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