Much in demand, e-patient Dave stays cool

Photo by Gunther Eysenbach via Creative Commons


The Med Page Today’s review of Dave deBronkart’s cancer memoir is in a section called “Celebrity Diagnosis.” But don’t think all the attention is getting to e-patient Dave.   

DeBronkart is an activist for patient involvement in care. He joined the connected health movement after he found all kinds of errors in his Google Health records during his treatment.  

At an August health quality seminar at Harvard, deBronkart — also a speaker at the meeting — waited patiently but eagerly to meet writer and doctor Atul Gawande.  New Hampshire-based deBronkart wanted Gawande sign a copy of a magazine article in Health Leaders magazine that featured separate pictures of the two men on the same page. 

 Gawande signed, adding to deBronkart’s steady stream of Tweets. (Do we capitalize t?Tweet?) 

Here are 2009 and 2010 Globe stories on DeBronkart. 

This from the MedPage review of the book: 

During the 12 months following his diagnosis, Dave wrote a blog chronicling events, both extraordinary and mundane, of his life with cancer. Laugh, Sing, and Eat Like a Pig is a book based on this blog.
The title refers to part of Dave’s treatment plan devised by himself and Dr. Sands. Dave had long known about the power of laughter to ameliorate disease through the work of the late Norman Cousins. Then, while speaking with Dr. Sands about adjusting his life to his diminishing energy level, Dave suggested that he drop out of a singing group, an activity that he loved. Dr. Sands would have none of this and Dave continued signing. Then he got the advice of a hospital nutritionist who instructed him to gain weight to prepare his body for the effects of interleukin therapy. His dietary regimen included putting whipped cream on all desserts and liberal doses of pizza for snacks.
 Do note that deBronkart’s approach to his disease has its detractors, who are sick of people telling them to have a positive attitude about their disease.  

 Also, more on NPR’s Maine Primary care story. We hope Julie Rovner got to relax a bit while she was up there away from the soup that is D.C. in August. She did a great job explaining the complexity of health reform during last year’s debate.  Speaking from experience, that’s no easy task. 

 One of the places working to transform its physician practices into medical homes is Martin’s Point. It’s a large nonprofit primary care group practice with several locations around Maine, including its home base at the actual Martin’s Point at the mouth of the harbor in Portland. 

“What’s become clear to all of us is that the expectations for primary care and the expectations and needs for people in the care system have changed enormously,” says Martin’s Point president and CEO, David Howes. “The expectations of people in primary care are that they will do a great job caring for people with chronic disease, and they’ll identify and know everybody for whom they’re responsible.”

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