It ticks me off that the excellent site HealthNewsReview.org is going out of business due to lack of funding. More on that below. This independent website has for 12+ years been teaching us all how to watch out for BS in health news stories; they’re so important for informed health consumers that over on the e-patient blog I’ve written about them a dozen times.
No wonder people get tired of fighting to improve social attitudes. This one is so obvious, yet we keep getting asked the same outdated questions. What amazes me, though, is that this time the skeptical scoffing comes from uninformed innovators, not old-timers! Makes me want to bang my head on the desk.
Last week I posted here about my talk at the SIIM conference in DC, including the rousing favorable response from the audience on Twitter. It appears the popularity has aroused scoffing skepticism AGAIN: “What would patients even DO with their images?? They don’t know how to read them…”
Notice how that thinking presumes the only thing a patient could do with the image is try to play doctor! So I blogged a bunch of the stories patients told me on Facebook in response to my request. Have a look at the post and the fascinating range of stories people shared. How wrong the skeptics are, when they think a patient is trying to step into the doctor’s shoes. Some do in fact become good enough to spot things like a missed tumor(!) – but in most cases the patient does something that adds to what doctors normally do. Isn’t that interesting? Go read.
Yesterday’s post contained a video, but that wasn’t apparent to email subscribers. The email system I use only sends the text, for some reason, and at bottom says “This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now“, which linked only to a graphic.
Stupid email system. I usually give instructions in the body of the post: “Email subscribers, click the headline to come online and see the video.” But I forgot – sorry; click here to view yesterday’s post (and see the video). I hope to get a better email system for the blog!
I keep seeing patterns of thought that I frankly think are pretty benighted. With luck, shedding some light on them will help. This one is so STUCK in darkness that I’ve decided to publish a little series on the subject.
First is this editorial about patients in research. Next will be what happened when a researcher I know became a patient/family member. Then will be how this fits into a century-long timeline of progressing toward patient autonomy … which of course requires a matching increase in patient responsibility.
In my years of work to optimize the future of healthcare, with hundreds of conferences and meetings in eighteen countries, people’s focus has shifted as the industry moves forward. For years the focus was on patient empowerment through access to the medical record. Today the greatest attention is on digital health: wristbands like my Fitbit, radical patient-power tools like OpenAPS, and even simple connected devices like my Nokia / Withings wi-fi bathroom scale. Through it all, the unifying theme of digital health is that data enables power – an updated version of “knowledge is power.”
But I’ve also observed that few people are savvy about both medicine and technology, which has led to medical people not seeing the potential and tech people being seriously naive about how complex medicine is, and both parties failing too often to understand that it’s all about behavior change.
One of the few people I’ve worked with who completely gets it is the young, visionary “Medical Futurist” Dr. Bertalan Meskó, at Semmelweis University in Budapest. I had the pleasure of lecturing in his course a few years ago, and we have continued to collaborate.
Below is a long comment I posted Wednesday on my neighbor @KevinMD’s blog. (Most of his widely read blog is articles he’s found elsewhere; he’s cross-posted some of mine.)
The post I replied to is a thoughtful submission by two grad students (one business school, one med school). Their thoughts are valid but as you’ll see, the issue isn’t apps – this is part of a broader issue that every engaged patient (you!) should understand. Here’s my reply.