Search all of the Society for Participatory Medicine website:Search has posted a great new piece by Roni Zeiger MD, “The Biggest Wasted Resource in Health Care? You.” Subtitle: How Your Internet Research Can Help Your Relationship With Your Doctor. It’s well reasoned and clearly written, and continues the trend we cited a month ago, when Time posted Dr. Zack Meisel’s article saying that patients who google can help doctors.

Related notes:

  • Roni’s title parallels what Dr. Charles Safran told the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Health in 2004: patients are “the most under-utilitized resource.” He was talking about health IT, quoting his colleague Warner Slack MD, who had said it many years earlier. I often quote it in my speeches for SPM, asserting that it applies not just to IT but to all of healthcare.
  • Roni’s on the editorial board of our Journal of Participatory Medicine and is Chief Health Strategist at Google. He gets the power of patient engagement deeply and clearly; last fall he posted here a prediction that in the future it might be malpractice for doctors not to prescribe a patient community to help you help yourself with your conditions.

Prediction: googling and patient networks will become essential as we move toward the practice of shared medical decision making. I know first-hand that the information my kidney cancer community gave me about coping with treatments went well beyond what my excellent clinicians could offer. (We’re starting a series on SDM; the first entry was in December.)


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