A guest post by John Sharp of the Cleveland Clinic:

John W. SharpIf you have not read the e-Patient White Paper, you do not understand the future of medicine.

Being an e-Patient is beyond being empowered. The subtitle of the paper, “How they can help us heal healthcare,” describes the potential for a revolution of change.

Why are e-Patients and participatory medicine the future of healthcare? Patient’s sense of empowerment has been growing gradually from the start of the Cancer Survivor’s movement and use of email listservs like ACOR. The quick evolution of Health 2.0 now provides an enabling technology to move forward the role of the patient as a full participant in care. Health specific search opens up details of diagnosis, treatment and outcomes of even the rarest diseases and social networks to find others with similar experiences. Health 2.0 has ushered in the age of the e-Patient.

Now comes the Journal of Participatory Medicine to fill a gap in journals which acknowledge the active role of the patient in current medical practice. While other journals publish articles on patient participation in health care and social media, but a single journal devoted to this topic will be a welcome addition and make the topic more officially sanctioned as a valid field of medical study. The editorial board is very impressive and lends an important boost to this new journal.

John Sharp has been involved in healthcare information technology for more than 10 years. Currently, he is the Manager of Research Informatics in the Department of Quantitative Health Sciences at the Cleveland Clinic. He launched his eHealth blog (ehealth.johnwsharp.com) in 2006 and frequently speaks on Health 2.0. He is an active member of the Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society and the American Medical Informatics Association and is a Project Management Professional. He serves as a preceptor for Nursing Informatics at the France Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University.

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