Friday, July 25, 2008

Illness in the Age of 'e'

Dr. Danny Sands (my primary physician) and I have begun an initiative to share our story in the hope that both patients and medical professionals will see new possibilities for how healthcare delivery can be improved and even transformed using technology.

The title of our message is "Illness in the age of 'e': How Connected Technology Changes the Patient Experience." One medium for the message will be a medical journal article, which is in process. Another will be a session we're co-leading at the Connected Health Symposium at Harvard in October.

Earlier this month Danny gave his first public telling of our story, in a guest lecture at the University of Waterloo (Ontario). It was a webcast, broadcast live over the web - the room where he spoke was almost empty, which is kind of funny when you see it, but that's how webcasts work: many can watch live, and now it's available for free viewing.

It's a 45 minute talk, with introduction then Q&A. It requires Internet Explorer. Watch it here. There are no slides, so you can listen to it like a radio show if you like.

As you may know, Danny is one of the original pioneers in the use of doctor-patient emails. He's also a member of the e-patient scholars working group, which I joined this year. In addition to his work as a practicing physician, he teaches at Harvard Medical School and works for Cisco Systems. Busy guy, with a unique combination of perspectives. I'm glad to have him as my doctor.

A personal note: this is the first time I've seen Danny talk about the human, emotional side of being a doctor, caring at a personal level about how his patients are doing. I remember, almost too well, the urgent cell phone call I placed to him in January '07 just after Ginny and I saw the first images that revealed the cancer ... those moments when I realized I might be facing the end of my life very soon. He was so compassionate and caring. And we got to work.

We really hope that sharing our story will lead to positive changes in how patients and providers take advantage of technology to transform the experience of illness.

Comments welcome, below.


  1. Great blog! It is very interesting to hear that there is an actual "e-patient" movement. I started my blog to share my experiences as what I call a Patient 2.0. I am eager to view the webcast you have from Dr. Sands.


  2. So, Emily, welcome, fellow traveler! Love your blog too! Let's network! We have much to discuss. Get in touch if you want - epatientdave at comcast dot net.


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