Patient engagement involves a shift in perspective, rights, and responsibilities. Rich conversations await us as patients and providers alike shift away from the paternalistic past and toward the shared responsibilities of participatory medicine. I’d welcome inquiries about small, medium and large engagements to help make this future a reality in your organization.
I like good doctors. A lot.
My life was saved by great physicians, nurse practitioners and nurses at a great academic medical center. I’m grateful enough that I agreed to be in a five minute infomercial on their site:
Participatory medicine is not about patients taking over. Far from it – I’m fond of saying that I’d be in sorry shape if I’d had to dream up the high-dosage Interleukin-2 treatment that saved my life.
And that’s not to mention the extraordinary surgeon who, in a 5+hour laparoscopic procedure, extracted my primary tumors (kidney and adrenal) weeks before treatment started.
Or the ortho team that put my femur back together after a big metastasis gave it a pathological fracture. How on earth can someone go into a messed-up broken leg (bone shards and meat) and scoop out every bit of spilled metastasis and then bolt the pieces back together to make a working leg? But here I am, walking evidence.
I also like to see good business practices in healthcare: good customer service, good IT, good working relationships.
When I started learning about healthcare after reading the e-patient white paper, I came to better understand the economic and cultural pressures providers face today. Increasing pressure to see more patients, an explosion of new data to keep up with, insurance clerks who veto a professional’s recommendations, demands to adopt EMRs, and despite the rising cost of care, incessant pressure not to pay providers more.
Patients can help.
Engaged, motivated, well-informed “e-patients” are more involved in their own care, and can often find information that providers don’t have time (or reimbursement) to pursue. As my own primary physician Danny Sands MD, MPH says, “Embrace knowledge symmetry.” I have some experience in how this can unfold, and would welcome the chance to work with your team.