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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    Aug 1 2011: Hello Dave. I want to thank you first off. For standing up for such an important thing. And ask you a couple things. My mother recently passed away, July 6th. And she passed away after a long fight with something called interstitial lung disease. Now, for the majority of her illness doctors misdiagnosed her with pneumonia every time she would be brought to the hospital. Put her on antibiotics and high doses of prednisone and off she would go. They thought the antibiotics were helping her. When really the prednisone was. In late 2010 I was searching the web for reasons why this would keep happening to my mother. And interstitial lung disease popped up. And matched her illness perfectly. I brought it up to a doctor. And was told "Let me do my job." After it was all said and done, and my mom passed away. I was met with a surprising cause of death Interstitial lung disease.

    I agree with the patients having more power. But my question is. Do you think family should be aloud to be more involved in the process of diagnosing as well? Because there were treatments my mother could of had options to at least try if this was caught sooner. Or even just considered. Not saying it would of been some miracle cure. But at least something could of been done other then treating for pneumonia every time and sending her home with nothing other then pain medicine for her pain.

    Again, I want to thank you. Because I strongly believe in this. And I am going to be going to college this year to become a Respiratory Care Specialist because I want to help prevent situations like this.

    - Jamie from Ohio

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