In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

October 30, 2014

The e-Patient Takes a Turn at ‘Professor’

By In the Loop
ePatient Dave chatting with doctor

Photo courtesy of

Dave deBronkart once led a riveted TED talk audience in a chant of, “Let patients help!” On that same stage, he gave a brief performance of the “Give me my ____ data” rap (penned in his honor). At Mayo Clinic’s Transform symposium, he presented a talk called “I Love My Doctor.” Now the author, speaker and tireless advocate for patients everywhere will do something truly unexpected. Next spring, he’ll be a Visiting Professor at Mayo Clinic.

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. Previous selections have included leaders in medical education (Dr. Jeffrey Wiese), and quality and safety (Dr. Robert Wachter), as well as the CDC’s epidemic intelligence service (Dr. Douglas Hamilton). “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 the Social Media Health Network website. Their choice, they say, reflects the importance of a “union of forces” between providers and patients.

A self-proclaimed e-patient, Dave has educated himself and others on the importance the patient’s voice in health care decisions. An e-patient, he says, is someone who is equipped, engaged, empowered and enabled to actively participate in his or her care. Dave’s own journey as a patient began in 2007, when he was diagnosed with Stage IV, Grade IV renal cell carcinoma. He was given a less than desirable prognosis – in fact, he was told he didn’t have much longer to live. But his daughter was getting engaged, and Dave did not want her big day to include the words: “I wish Dad had been here.” So he took to the Internet and learned everything he could about his condition, and what he could glean from the experience of others, and then he went about communicating his findings to his physician, ultimately leading to a different approach to treating his disease.

On his blog, Dave discusses this latest development and how it relates to that “union of forces” between providers and patients. “This is the first formal recognition I’ve heard of, from any academic medical center, of this new imperative for physicians to join forces with patients as colleagues,” he says.  In the video below, posted with the announcement, he notes, "Of course, me being me … you know, evangelists don't stop at an offer like that." Maybe it will even inspire him to bust out some new rhymes.

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Tags: Dave deBronkart, Internal Medicine, Medical Education Stories, Patient Stories, Transform

Congratulations to the chief residents for their insight!


Do we know the data and time that Doc deBronkart will be doing the Grand rounds in 2015. I don’t want to miss it.

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