Preserving History Honoring Innovation

2015 Innovative Individual - "e-Patient Dave" deBronkart

“e-Patient Dave” is the best-known proponent of the e-patient movement: “empowered, engaged, equipped and enabled.” A survivor of Stage IV kidney cancer in 2007, he was a leader of online discussion forums as far back as 1989 on CompuServe, where he managed active groups in desktop publishing and attention deficit.

A key moment in his cancer story occurred when his primary physician, Dr. Danny Sands, recommended a high quality online patient community, where he could talk with fellow patients. From them, he got high quality information that added to the published literature, which his oncologist credits as probably helping to save his life. 

His experience in high-tech marketing taught him to make a compelling case for how new technologies make new things possible, and to present it credibly to both professional and lay audiences, which has become the foundation of his second career as “e-Patient Dave.” A co-founder and co-chair of the Society for Participatory Medicine, Dave has appeared in Time, US News, USA Today, Wired, MIT Technology Review, and the 2009 HealthLeaders cover story “Patient of the Future.” [why are some publications italics and not others?] He has been published in the British Medical Journal, the Society for General Internal Medicine Forum, iHealthBeat, and the conference journal of the American Society for Clinical Oncology. In 2009, HealthLeaders named him and Dr. Sands to their annual list of “20 People Who Make Healthcare Better.” He’s appeared on the cover of Healthcare IT News and the Australian GP magazine Good Practice. In 2013, the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media named him to its inaugural class of Platinum Fellows.

Significantly, all this was achieved entirely via the Internet: with no organization or investment, he developed his advocacy using blogging and social media tools (almost entirely free) to spread awareness of his message, post videos of his speeches and participate in worldwide discussions. The growth of his message illustrates the “information liquidity” (frictionless movement) that the Internet enables.

Dave’s blog has been archived in the History of Medicine section of the National Library of Medicine. In 2014, he was named to the BMJ’s Patient Advisory Panel. In 2015, he was the Mayo Clinic’s invited Visiting Professor in Internal Medicine, and had his first clinical article published as lead author in the Journal of Oncology Practice. At this writing, he has attended 450 conferences and policy meetings in fourteen countries – a clear sign of an active evangelist, taking full advantage of the Internet makes possible to change healthcare.

 “e-Patient Dave” can be found digitally on his Website (www.epatientdave.com), Facebook (http://facebook.com/ePatientDave), on Twitter (@ePatientDave) and at e-patients.net, where he frequently blogs.