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 10 2011: Local culture /age play an enormous role in this subject, too. My mom was a RN educated in the 60's in the Western medical model in the midwest USA. She developed cancer, she was an extremely compliant patient. She followed every order from her team of MDs. She immediately changed her diet to nearly completely Indian vegetarian, + supplements even though she was born & raised in the midwest eating meats, vegetables, fruits usually in desserts only. She never questioned any "advice" she was given by any doctor. Professionally, she was strong and a critical thinker. When she got sick, she changed. She became passive and meek. She never once considered going to the "city" or the university hospital even though it was< an hour away. She died less than 2 years later in early 60's, after a grueling, painful attempt to survive. (She is the only family member to develop cancer). She was physically fit & active)
    .My dad is in hospital now (midwest) with many problems. CA, sepsis, pneum., etc. His wife is overwhelmed. She records all conversations with drs @ my rqst. I visited him in ICU and tho' I have his permission to get info about him, his pulmonologist told me, verbatim, I don't have time to talk to you. Talk to your stepmom. I was speechless.He abruptly left the room. I'm a nurse in addition to my other job. It is unethical in my part of the country to tell a client's family that you're "too busy to talk to" family. I would have gladly made an appointment. I was never given that opportunites.I looked around,I realized there were many differences between where I have experience and where my dad is cared for. Don't like comes to mind.Simple things: no hand sanitizer in halls (ICU!),no visitors for 2 hours at shift change, etc.I can't imagine what info has been gathered during his care that will never be shared with them and they don't have the savvy to ask for. A letter is on the way to the administrator! "Hostage patient" even if HE doesnt' feel that way! Not empowered

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