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: It is very common for a physician to think they know much more than the patient, but things are changing fast. With medical knowledge expanding exponentially, access to it on the internet, and especially with patients having access to each other, I believe we in the health care system have to change the actual system structure of how we care for patients and each other, and include them (actually ask them to be invited) on to teams and work together in a systems approach.
    I believe it is the structure of our individual physician practice and the hospital hierarchy and vertical department system structures that cause the patient to be such an underutilized resource.
    • Jul 27 2011: very well considered Bruce - thank you. The speediness of medical service is really a large piece of the imbalance it seems to me - A buddhist teacher put it this way 'Speed is the enemy of mindfulness. The antidote is being appreciative and observant of life's every detail.'. - Sokyam Rinpoche. This is hardly available in the 15 minutes generally provided.
    • Jul 27 2011: I don't think of myself as an expert on medicine. I am an expert on ME, and on the experience I had with a particular illness. And as an expert on me, I want my clinician to consult with me, not dictate at me.

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