Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I am now seeing a new class of patients - the e-patients. ( Many of these come from Pune and Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India !)
Initially, e-patients stood for patients who used email and the web. Today, the epatient has become much more powerful !
Epatients are engaged - with their doctor; with their health; and with their healthcare system. They do not just read content - they create it as well . "User generated content" is very powerful and moving , because it provides a first hand view straight from the horse's mouth !
They have blogs and post on forums and some of them can be very prolific !
They are empowered ; knowledgeable - and articulate. They have an opinion and are happy to express it !
They are experts . They realise that they are the experts on their own illness - and are happy to share their expertise with others.
They are equipped- they understand how to use the internet to help themselves and to help others as well. They will often lead and participate in online support groups; and are able to discuss technical medical matters intelligently with their doctors. They do not underestimate their competence and intelligence and understand that they have the most at stake when it comes to matters relating to their health !
They are enabled. They have access to technology and are happy to use this intelligently.
These e-patients are Exceptional patients - and these are the kind of patients who can heal a sick healthcare system ! They are the icons of a new kind of medicine, called Participatory Medicine !
Good doctors appreciate and treasure these e-patients - and form partnerships with them, because they realise that they can learn a lot from each other !