Wednesday, December 01, 2010 | Aniruddha Malpani
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 e-mail and the Web. Today, the e-patient has become much more powerful.
E-patients 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 firsthand 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 realize 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
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 realize that they can learn a lot
from each other!
Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD is an IVF specialist in Bombay, Maharashtra,
India who believes in information therapy. He runs the world’s largest
free patient education library, HELP. Visit his blog at doctorandpatient.blogspot.com.
travelers, personalhealthrecord, empoweredpatient, epatient
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