- Dave’s TED Talk and book (both titled “Let Patients Help”)
- For speaker bio’s, jump down to here.
- For other photos see the Photos page.
Cancer survivor “e-Patient Dave” is an international keynote speaker on healthcare who consistently earns extraordinary ratings by understanding each audience and working closely with each client to define their unique “home run.” Audiences have ranged from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to the Danish Patient Safety Association and the Israel Internet Society. His compelling TEDx Talk “Let Patients Help” was for years in the top half of most-watched TED talks of all time.
- Patient Engagement / Patient Empowerment / Patient Experience
- Let Patients Help Heal Healthcare (book: Let Patients Help: A Patient Engagement Handbook with Dr. Danny Sands; introduction by Eric Topol MD)
- Superpatients: Patients who extend science when all other options are gone
- Healthcare Consumerism: a businessman’s view of the consumer side of healthcare (I published an RFP to shop for skin cancer treatments!)
- Inspiration / Motivation / Attitude / Mind Power
- Dave’s first cancer book: “Laugh, Sing, and Eat Like a Pig: How an Empowered Patient Beat Stage IV Cancer (and what healthcare can learn from it)”
- Facing Death (book: Facing Death – With Hope)
“e-Patient Dave” deBronkart was diagnosed in January 2007 with Stage IV, Grade 4 renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) at a very late stage. His median survival at diagnosis was just 24 weeks; with tumors in both lungs, several bones, and muscle tissue, his prognosis was “grim,” as one web site described it.
He received great treatment at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: his surgeon removed the extensive mess (laparoscopically!), and the Biologic Therapy program helped him participate in a clinical trial for the powerful but severe High Dosage Interleukin-2 (HDIL-2). His last treatment was July 23, 2007, and by September it was clear he’d beaten the disease. His remaining lesions continued to shrink for years after the treatment ended.
Today: Advocate and Activist
An accomplished speaker and writer in his professional life before his illness, today Dave is actively engaged in opening health care information directly to patients on an unprecedented level, thus creating a new dynamic in how information is delivered, accessed and used by the patient. This is revolutionizing the relationship between patient and health care providers, which in turn will impact insurance, careers/jobs, quality of life and the distribution of finances across the entire spectrum of health care.
“What’s an e-Patient?”
A year after the diagnosis Dave was invited by his primary physician, Dr. Danny Sands, to join the annual retreat of the e-Patient Scholars Working Group. Founded by the late Tom Ferguson MD, a true visionary, the group consists of pioneers, both medical and lay, who have been quietly (and not so quietly) altering the balance of power in healthcare, demonstrating that as the internet brings patients together with information and with each other, a new world of Participatory Medicine is evolving, in which patients become potent agents in creating and managing their own health, in partnership with physicians.
Tom Ferguson said e-patients are empowered, engaged, equipped and enabled. Dave immediately saw himself as a match, became an active blogger on e-patients.net, and took on educating himself as much as he could. He went part-time in his day job in 2009, and left industry entirely in 2010 to devote himself full-time to healthcare.
“This is the first time in my life I’ve felt I have a calling,” says Dave, “something I can’t get away from: it’s what I need to do. I’ve had plenty of fulfilling jobs in a great career, but not a calling. This is it.”
Bio for speaking engagements
Note to clients: In publishing conference materials, or introducing me to your audience at the event, I urge you not to focus primarily on my biographical details below; tell them why you invited me to take up their time at this event. I’m presuming there was a specific reason – that I’m not just a necessary evil to fill your agenda. So, share with your audience what called to you, and why you believe it’ll be relevant to their lives!
Having said that, you’re welcome to select from this formal bio.
Full bio, 271 words, updated 2019:
Dave deBronkart, known on the internet as e-Patient Dave, is the author of the highly rated Let Patients Help: A Patient Engagement Handbook and one of the world’s leading advocates for patient engagement. After beating stage IV kidney cancer in 2007 he became a blogger, health policy advisor and international keynote speaker. An accomplished speaker in his professional life before cancer, he is today the best-known spokesman for the patient engagement movement, attending over 600 conferences and policy meetings in nineteen countries, including testifying in Washington for patient access to the medical record under Meaningful Use.
A co-founder and chair emeritus of the Society for Participatory Medicine, e-Patient Dave has appeared in Time, U.S. News, USA Today, Wired, MIT Technology Review, and the HealthLeaders cover story “Patient of the Future.” His writings have been published in the British Medical Journal, the Patient Experience Journal, iHealthBeat, and the conference journal of the American Society for Clinical Oncology. In 2009 HealthLeaders named him and his doctor to their annual list of “20 People Who Make Healthcare Better,” and he’s appeared on the cover of Healthcare IT News and the Australian GP magazine Good Practice.
Dave’s TED Talk Let Patients Help went viral, and for years was in the top half of the most viewed TED Talks of all time with over a half million views; volunteers have added subtitles in 26 languages, indicating the global appeal of his message. In 2012 the National Library of Medicine announced that it’s capturing his blog in its History of Medicine Division, and he was the Mayo Clinic’s 2015 Visiting Professor in Internal Medicine.