Tuesday, April 8, 2008

E-patients: the system is valuable, and so are you

Yesterday my wife sent me a very sad story titled Four Get Cancer from Teen's Donated Organs. This morning I wrote a heartfelt post about it on the e-patients blog. If you're trying to understand what the role of an e-patient is, in today's healthcare world, I urge you to read it.

The post is not about the tragedy itself; it's about one of the pivotal points of learning in becoming an e-patient.

One of the central barriers to "participatory medicine," as we're calling it recently, is that some doctors (and patients) don't yet understand that there's far less risk in patients self-educating on the Internet than was once feared. The e-patient white paper (available on that blog site) documents this in some detail. My post looks at this incident as a painful example of that point.

It's really, really important that you understand that lesson and explain it to others. It's the first step toward becoming a really effective partner in the care you're seeking, whether it's for yourself or a loved one.

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