On the heels of being named a Visiting Professor at Mayo Clinic, everyone’s favorite ePatient, Dave deBronkart added another feather to his patient advocacy cap by appearing at his first Mayo Clinic Grand Rounds to talk about the role social media plays in changing the patient-physician relationship.
As you may recall from last fall’s story about Dave's professorship, each year Mayo Clinic internal medicine chief residents invite a visiting professor to join them for several days of educational activities and to speak at Grand Rounds. “This year, we wanted our choice to represent a field with a similarly widespread impact on the future of medical practice,” the residents wrote in a post on Mayo's Social Media Health Network (SMHN) blog. Choosing ePatient Dave, they said, reflects the importance of a “union of forces” between providers and patients. (Where have we heard that phrase before?)
In a subsequent SMHN post leading up to his Grand Rounds presentation, Dave wrote more about that patient-physician "union of forces," saying, "People have a tendency sometimes to speak of social media as if it were a magical universe inside of which amazing things happen, but nobody’s sure quite what or how. I want to encourage people to think in concrete, specific terms about how valuable information truly flows to where it’s needed, because that is what makes new things possible -- especially what makes possible the world of informed, empowered, engaged e-patients who truly are partners with the medical professionals."
Dave also used that post to formally announce another new project aimed at further exploring, and answering, the following questions: "Is it time for us to define a new science of patient engagement?" And, more specifically: "Can we formally, methodically, rigorously identify what patients can now contribute to conversations about diagnosis and treatment that wasn’t possible or permissible in the past? And can we figure out why in some cases patient engagement leads to real improvements in outcomes and costs, while in others it fails?"
Answering those questions, he writes, will likely require science to move forward methodically in its thinking. "Maybe we need a new science -- a new way of understanding what needs to be measured and optimized -- or maybe we don’t," he says. "I just ask that we examine the evidence together."
You can watch Dave's full Grand Rounds presentation here. Then show us your forward thinking by sharing your comments below and sharing this story with others using the social media icons above.