“Reforming a system that’s badly broken”: an interview with Jay Parkinson, MD, MPH

A good friend of mine, e-Patient Dave, set this interview up. And just as much as I’m dedicated to letting the world know who e-Patient Dave is, he’s also dedicated to letting the world know about me.

Here’s Dave’s story:

“This is the first time in my life I’ve felt I have a calling,” says Dave, “something I can’t get away from: it’s what I need to do. I’ve had plenty of fulfilling jobs in a great career, but not a calling. This is it.”

“e-Patient Dave” deBronkart was diagnosed in January 2007 with Stage IV, Grade 4 renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) at a very late stage. His median survival time at diagnosis was just 24 weeks; with tumors in both lungs, several bones, and muscle tissue, his prognosis was “grim,” as one web site described it.

He received great treatment at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: his surgeon removed the extensive mess (laparoscopically!), and the Biologic Therapy program helped him participate in a clinical trial for the powerful but severe High Dosage Interleukin-2 (HDIL-2). His last treatment was July 23, 2007, and by September it was clear he’d beaten the disease. His remaining lesions have continued to shrink.

Dave is actively engaged in opening health care information directly to patients on an unprecedented level, thus creating a new dynamic in how information is delivered, accessed and used by the patient. This is revolutionizing the relationship between patient and health care providers, which in turn will impact insurance, careers/jobs, quality of life and the distribution of finances across the entire spectrum of health care.

e-patients are empowered, engaged, equipped and enabled. Dave immediately saw himself as a match, became an active blogger on e-patients.net, and took on educating himself as much as he could.

The only way healthcare will change is by all of us becoming empowered, engaged, equipped, and enabled consumers. We all need to be as awesome as Dave.

“Reforming a system that’s badly broken”: an interview with Jay Parkinson, MD, MPH