Beyond Empowerment: Patients, Paradigms, and Social Movements

A conversation with “e-Patient Dave” deBronkart

By Susan Carr

Dave deBronkart, known on the Internet as e-Patient Dave, is one of the world’s best-known evangelists for the patient engagement movement. A 2007 survivor of stage IV kidney cancer, he discovered the movement in 2008 and started blogging about it as a hobby. In 2009, he moved his electronic hospital data to a personal health record, which triggered a series of events that landed him on the front page of The Boston Globe (Wangsness, 2009). Invitations to attend policy meetings in Washington and give speeches followed. An accomplished speaker in his professional life, he has now participated in 450 healthcare events in 15 countries. His 2011 TED Talk has been seen by almost a half million viewers online.

deBronkart is a child of the Sixties, which leads him to see the e-patient movement as a social revolution, parallel to civil rights and feminism. And as an MIT graduate, he also sees it as the natural evolution of a scientific field. The following is based on a conversation he had recently with Susan Carr, editor of Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare.

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Simulation Techniques for Teaching Time-Outs: A Controlled Trial

Incorrect surgery and invasive procedures sometimes occur on the wrong patient, wrong side, or wrong site; are performed at the wrong level; use the wrong implant; or in some way represent a wrong procedure on the correct patient. Although rare, with a reported incidence of 1 in 112,994 cases, incorrect invasive procedures have potentially disastrous consequences for patients, staff, and healthcare organizations (Dillon, 2008). Patients suffer preventable harm, staff may be censured and emotionally traumatized, and healthcare organizations experience a loss of public reputation and trust.

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Education: Interdisciplinary Skills Labs for Quality Improvement

By Ariadne K. DeSimone

In spring 2014, one day after taking the United States Medical Licensure Examination: Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, I finally had time to turn my attention to thoughts about my future and to the email messages that had accumulated over the past month. One announcement stood out: the Emory University Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Open School Chapter was seeking applications for its leadership team. With plans to begin the master of public health (MPH) in health policy and management program at the end of the summer, between my third and fourth years of medical school, I was searching for extracurricular opportunities that would complement my studies. In that moment, as I read the email solicitation, I took a leap of faith. I had never heard of IHI, yet within a week I had applied, interviewed, and accepted a position as director of education for Emory’s Chapter of IHI Open School. I was compelled to act so spontaneously by what I understood to be the vision, mission, and approach of IHI: to work with health systems and other organizations around the world to improve healthcare quality, safety, and value.

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Leadership: Ending Nurse-to-Nurse Hostility

Years ago, at a National League of Nursing meeting, Loretta Nowakowski, former director for Health Education for the Public at Georgetown University School of Nursing in Washington, D.C., proposed that disease could be best understood by looking at hurricanes. She noted that, like a serious illness, hurricanes occurred only when many factors were present within relatively narrow parameters and that an appropriate intervention could alter the severity or course of a disease or hurricane. This discovery was encouraging to Nowakowski—it meant that an intervention, made at any point, could alter the final outcome.

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Study: Poor Communication Leads to Malpractice, Death

Poor communication in healthcare has tangible, measurable effects. A new study released by CRICO Strategies found that communications failures were a factor in 30% of malpractice cases between 2009 to 2013, including 1,744 deaths. The reports estimate that both the deaths and $1.7 billion in malpractice costs could have been avoided with better communication between patients and physicians. 

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Team-Based Learning and Student-Run Clinic Support Interdisciplinary Education

By Nazanin Kuseh Kalani Yazd The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus approaches interprofessional education in a manner that mimics the reality of working on an interprofessional team. To prepare students to work in a field that requires coordination across many different disciplines, the University of Colorado takes advantage of the diversity at its health … Continued

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Labor and Management Working Together to Improve Patient Satisfaction

By Preeti Jadhav, MD As I approached the end of my first postgraduate year (PGY­1), one of the chief residents asked me to participate on the “LMP PCC project.” He explained that LMP PCC referred to a multidisciplinary labor-management, patient-centered care project where representatives from different disciplines would work together to enhance patient experience. At … Continued

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Athenahealth Launches Text Messaging for Providers and Care Teams

A new, secure text messaging service called athenaText® is fully integrated with athenahealth’s cloud-based electronic health record (EHR) platform and accessible through the standalone athenaText and Epocrates mobile apps. AthenaText is available at no cost to more than one million healthcare professionals on the athenahealth network, including every athenaClincials® EHR and Epocrates user. Additionally, healthcare … Continued

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