November 1, 2010

To improve health and health care… fill in the blank

I was honored to be invited to TEDMED by the Pioneer Portfolio of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Their team encouraged all attendees to complete one of three sentences:

  • “To improve health and health care, we need to start asking…”
  • “To improve health and health care faster, we must…”
  • “My bold idea for transforming health and health care is…”

You can see the results of this thought experiment on Flickr, on Twitter (#ideapowered) or on YouTube. Here’s what I said:

The sound isn’t perfect, so here’s what I meant: Acknowledge the power of networked patients and caregivers.

Many people talk about how consumers are the greatest untapped information resource in medicine, but the Pew Internet Project’s research shows that patients and caregivers are already accessing that knowledge via social media (and less whiz-bang technologies). The health care system just needs to tap into the parallel system that has sprung up.

What do you think?  Which of the questions would you like to answer?  Please add your ideas in the comments on e-patients.net.