I was interviewed for the March issue of MM&M, a medical industry marketing magazine. The title they chose is “Visitor from the future.” Indeed – but this time traveler has millions of cousins.
As our country (and world) plan the next generation of healthcare, I urge people to look at what e-patients are doing – and use it as a lever, to improve care and economic efficiency. Heaven knows we could use it.
The article arose from a talk at the ePharma Summit in February. I was the guest of Klick Marketing, a Toronto company that develops superb web sites for consumer engagement, including patient engagement sites for drug companies. I spoke as the “voice of the patient,” within a keynote by Klick’s Brian O’Donnell about engaging with activated patients.
I wanted to make clear that although it seems futuristic, it’s real today. So the first words out of my mouth were “I’m here as a specimen from the future.” MM&M editor-in-chief Jim Chase was there , and this interview resulted.
Truly and literally, that future is here. The article cites that ACOR (my patient community) reaches 1.5 million patients a week, and that’s just one e-patient site; there are many more. (The Society for Participatory Medicine hopes to publish a list this year, to help people find peers.)
Smart planners and policy people realize this future is present. Activated, engaged patients use every tool at their disposal – the only thing limiting the number of e-patients is public awareness. When people realize what patients can do, and then disease hits, bam: instant ‘e.’
How ironic: Washington is spending tens of billions of stimulus money encouraging physicians to adopt health IT, and observers still wonder whether they’ll do it: “What’s in it for them?” Believe me, patients don’t need persuading. Just give us valuable tools. (That’s why I like what Klick does.) The only requirement is “patients first” – at October’s e-Patient Connections conference, magnificent diabetes blogger Kerri Sparling (SixUntilMe) said it perfectly: “Keeping me alive should be your priority – not selling to me.“
E-patients are here – empowered, engaged, equipped, enabled, educated. And motivated. Government, industry, everyone – please partner with us. It’s the participatory thing to do.
My speech was similar to October’s “Engage Authentically.” Here’s video, courtesy of Kru Research, producer of the conference. (For other videos see our Speaking page.)
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