TED Conversations

e-Patient Dave deBronkart

Change Advocate for Participatory Medicine / Let Patients Help, Society for Participatory Medicine


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"WHY is the patient the most under-used resource in healthcare?? How did that happen?" (Follow-up to LIVE TED Conversation July 27)

"e-Patient Dave" deBronkart is an advocate for patients being "E": empowered, engaged in their care, equipped, enabled, educated, etc. As described in his talk from TEDx Maastricht, he beat a near-fatal cancer, supplementing his great medical care by using the internet in every way possible.

Today, as blog manager and volunteer co-chair of the Society for Participatory Medicine, he has studied the social, technical and sometimes political factors that make healthcare ignore the potential of patients contributing to their care.

In his TEDTalk, he quotes senior physicians who have said for decades that patients are the most under-utilized resource in healthcare.

Why is that? How did it get to be that way? Is change valid? Why now, and not 20 years ago? And what can we do about it?

Watch the talk, and come back to discuss. *Your family* will be affected someday.

ADMIN EDIT: e-Patient Dave has requested that we keep this conversation open for 1 week. After 2pm ET July 27, he will periodically check in to answer questions and respond to comments.

Topics: Healthcare

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    Jul 27 2011: I also feel like people don't trust their doctors nowadays because of all of the medical mistakes you hear. Then you have to look at it this way we have better technology today than we did 100yrs ago. With all the new ways to find thing out people don’t have to go to the doctors to find out a prognosis; you can look on the internet and find out yourself. So doctors might also feel like “Well, you came to me to find out something you could have found out yourself on the internet” With that thought they feel like I have no reason to listen to you because you came to me for the help and I didn’t come to you.
    • Jul 27 2011: They trust the doctors they have been able to create a human relationship with. But the 'system' tends to keep everyone at a distance. Treating us like widgits. Parts moving down the assembly line.
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        Jul 27 2011: Well yes, I do believe there are people who still have trust and faith in their doctors, but there are far too many people who don’t.
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        Jul 27 2011: I think this is a major cause of the current health care system problems. The industry was developed with reductionist thinking (industrial revolution type organization structures).

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