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Keywords: E-patients, communication, medical records, access to data, patient engagement.
Citation: Shcherbakova N. Book review: Let Patients Help! J Participat Med. 2013 Aug 7; 5:e32.
Published: August 7, 2013.
Competing Interests: The author has declared that no competing interests exist.

Dave deBronkart’s book, Let Patients Help! is a concise and inspiring account of how to become an engaged patient by harnessing information resources on the internet and becoming a clinician’s partner rather than a passive consumer of health care. The author survived a rare form of kidney cancer in great part due to his incredible motivation to learn about the best treatments as well as active engagement with information resources, including online patient communities. Dr. Danny Sands, Dave’s primary care physician, an engaged clinician himself, contributed to two sections of the book.

The book consists of three succinct parts which are further divided into shorter sections. The final part is solely focused on actionable “tip sheets” that may be used as standalone to-do lists. Throughout the book, the author refers the readers for additional resources including videos, websites, blogs, and medical literature. The emphasis of the book, however, is not on providing extensive accounts of evidence accumulated to date on the benefits associated with patient engagement but on giving readers a basic toolbox to become engaged consumers of health care. The fact that the book is published in beta edition, and Dave is actively seeking feedback from readers to contribute their own knowledge and expertise ,underscores the collaborative, participatory spirit of this project.

This book can be a starting point for those seeking to understand what impact engagement and participation may make in treatment outcomes for oneself and loved ones. The conversational style of the book makes it a captivating read that stimulates further information seeking and research to master the skills of an engaged consumer of health care.

Copyright: © 2013 Natalia Shcherbakova. Published here under license by The Journal of Participatory Medicine. Copyright for this article is retained by the author, with first publication rights granted to the Journal of Participatory Medicine. All journal content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. By virtue of their appearance in this open-access journal, articles are free to use, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings.