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Cross-posted (with additions) from my own blog 5/25/08

As I talk to people about “participatory medicine” and patient empowerment, I’ve needed to think out what that term really means when the rubber meets the road – when you (the patient) get responsibly involved in your own health care. So I’ve been listening, and e-patient stories seem to fall into two broad categories:

  • where doctors were helpful supportive partners
  • where they were anything but helpful and supportive.

The subtypes I’ve observed are instructive: their differences make clear the many reasons to be a participatory, empowered patient:

Most of these stories are just a few sentences. Well worth reading, if you ask me.
Sources of stories

In May we started collecting e-patient stories. It started with an excerpt from Randy Pausch’s best-selling The Last Lecture, demonstrating how he matched the e-patient model: actively engaged, learning everything he could, participating in his own care as much as he possibly could – and being fully supported in this by his care team.

Comments on that blog post added five more e-patient stories.

At least another dozen stories are in the e-patient paper (see link above).

Then, drew quite a reaction when its “Empowered Patient” feature wrote a column “5 mistakes women make at the doctor’s office”. (That’s a heck of a title for a feature about empowerment, isn’t it?)

Dozens more e-patient stories were added to comments on that article and on our post about it.