It is not new information that ‘the most under utilised resource in all of healthcare is the patient’ (Charles Safron MD). Since the 1970’s, certain doctors have been realising this, yet many still consider the patient a ‘third person’. Without this support from their doctors, patients are now taking control of their own health by using technology, connecting with other patients and searching for data.
It is a ridiculous notion to ignore the fact that our smartphones have taken over our personal lives. With everything at the end of our fingers, one click away, it is no surprise that they have become a way of connecting with our bodies and our health. A growing movement of websites, apps, and online forums/ support systems has enabled patients to be empowered in their recovery.
Example – ‘E-Patient Dave’* (David deBronkart) was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer that had spread into his lungs, legs, even tongue. A search into WebMD gave him extremely bleak reassurance with his cancer being incurable, prognosis being poor and about 24 weeks left of life. With several searches, David kept receiving the same bleak information over and over. With the help of his doctor, he was actually prescribed an online community called acor.org, where he was able to explore and receive advice from cancer patients. Their support and ‘the power of patient networks’ meant that 4 years after diagnosis he was able to stand in front of an audience and tell people his story.
These ‘online patient communities allow users to discuss their diseases in depth, get social support, and discover new treatments, therapies, and health care providers’ (Timothy Dy Aungst, PharmD) and with examples like David overcoming cancer, it seems that this is an avenue that medical practitioners should be cultivating. It is time to harness online communities and create platforms where patients and medical practitioners can interact.
*Watch David deBronkart at https://www.ted.com/talks/dave_debronkart_meet_e_patient_dave#t-966460 to hear his story
Want to learn more about new technology and new opportunities?
The OTC Training Academy will be in Singapore with Nicholas Hall on October 25th as the region looks to new areas for growth. The theme for 2017 will be “New technologies – New Opportunities”, and you can join our pre-Conference Action Workshop which will be looking at optimum solutions for achieving sustainable success in OTC markets. Confirm your place now and book before August 20th to receive an Early Bird rate! Group booking discounts and sponsorship opportunities are also available, please contact email@example.com