Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Why I blog

This post is intended as an introduction for those who are new to me and want to understand the background for my views on the new world of healthcare.

My day job

I’m Director of Marketing Analytics for TimeTrade Systems, “Appointment Scheduling Experts.” We provide enterprise-scale SaaS appointment systems (customers) and a nifty, free, viral personal appointment inviter called TimeDriver, dubbed “the most unglamorously useful service” at DEMO ’08. My job is to bash on the e-marketing data, understanding search engine marketing as much as we can (it's all about helping people get what they want!), and run the CRM/SFA system. Oh, and I write.

I like to know what drives change, and I like it to be fact-based.

My cancer story

…is in a separate post. Short version, I suddenly faced death, went through a whirlwind of technology and treatment, survived, and returned with awareness and attitude.

Why do I blog?

I’ve had a lot of personal growth training from Landmark Education. During the crisis it helped me be awake and aware, in what some said was an almost Zen-like state of peace. (Not thrilled to have cancer, but at peace with what's so, and able to be clear-headed.)

As the story wound down, I was left profoundly aware that there was work for me to do, to take what I’d learned and bring it out into the world. Landmark is about expressing your true self: “The freedom to be at ease, regardless of circumstances. The power to be effective in the areas of life that matter most to you.” That's truth in advertising, and I saw that it's a self-expression for me to do this. (In other words, I can't not do it.)

I participated on the blog of Paul Levy, CEO of my hospital, long before I got sick. My handle there was Patient Dave. So I started my own blog, “New Life of Patient Dave,” at Thanksgiving, not knowing what I’d do with it.

How I became an e-Patient

In January I learned about the e-patients movement and met the people involved. I found people who’d already been developing the concepts I wanted to spread and had been gathering data to support it and make their case. I immediately “rebranded” myself e-Patient Dave: it’s who I am.

What’s an e-Patient?

E-patients are “enabled, engaged, equipped and empowered.” Many snapshot examples here. The term was coined by Dr. Tom Ferguson, a true visionary, who saw in the 1990s how the Internet would transform healthcare by enabling patients to be active partners in their own care. He saw this long before widespread broadband came about, and before any of today's "Health 2.0" tools existed. A true visionary.

If you want to understand the micromechanism of patients transforming healthcare, you must read “E‑Patients: How they can help us heal health care,” the e-patient white paper (PDF, wiki). If it were a Forrester report (147 pages) it would cost $10,000; it’s free. It's deep thinking that’s panned out, with real-life use cases and anecdotes.

Who’s in the e-Patient Scholars Working Group?

Extraordinary people who’ve been at this a long time, plus newbie me. I hesitate to name any one member, but two prolific contributors are Gilles Frydman (founder of ACOR) and Susannah Fox of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Other world-changing members in the news recently: John Grohol’s Psych Central e-patient community just made Time’s 50 Best Websites 2008, and e-patient users at Joe & Terry Graedon’s People’s Pharmacy gathered the data that convinced the FDA there was a problem with the generic of Wellbutrin, which made the front page of the WSJ.

In my next post I’ll move into the business implications of what I learned while I spent a year as a patient then discovered the e-patient white paper. To get the most impact from the coming discussion, I urge you to read that paper too. It only takes a few hours – it's very well written. And aside from its business implications, it'll change your outlook on your own family's healthcare, which will be useful someday.


  1. Thanks, Dave! The e-patients discussion is richer b/c of you -- we are lucky to have connected.

  2. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your mention of my blog on the e-Patients site!

    I appreciate the work that you and the e-Patients Scholars Working Group do.

    Julia Oleinik
    Reasonably Well


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