In January 2007 Dave deBronkart, aka e-Patient Dave, was diagnosed with stage IV kidney cancer that had spread throughout his body and given a median survival time of 24 weeks. His story has a happy ending, thanks in large part to deBronkart taking an active role in his treatment. DeBronkart used the Internet to learn from other patients as well as from Novartis, which manufacturers the drug Proleukin. Now pharma's learning from him. Jack Barrette, CEO of WEGO Health, says deBronkart represents the future of self-managed care. Companies should look at him as a visitor from the future and figure out how to interact with someone like him who is passionate about his health and extremely comfortable with technology.
HEADLINER e-Patient Dave: visitor from the future I n January 2007 Dave deBronkart, aka e-Patient Dave deBronkart patients told deBronkart about drug treatment and Dave, was diagnosed with stage IV kidney cancer Healthcare consultant advised him to get to a specialist hospital. They also that had spread throughout his body and given a steered him to Novartis. 2009– present median survival time of 24 weeks. His story has a “The Novartis site had dry clinical statements— Healthcare consultant happy ending, thanks in large part to deBronkart it’s like saying ‘If you go to a certain neighborhood taking an active role in his treatment. DeBronkart 2006– present in Rome there’s a risk of pick pockets,’” explains Dir., marketing analytics, used the Internet to learn from other patients as TimeTrade Appointment deBronkart. “When you talk to six people who’ve well as from Novartis, which manufacturers the drug Systems been to Rome, you ﬁnd out what you really need to Proleukin. Now pharma’s learning from him. know. There’s so much value in a patient community 1989–2006 “After the shock, you’re left with the question consultant, graphic arts technol- that pharma cannot legally deliver. Let patients talk of what do I do,” says deBronkart. “I Googled like ogy, senior analyst for PODi to each other. Within the patient community, there crazy and found every source online I could and did azy are immensely powerful currents of knowledge and everything in my power to help myself. The patient verything information. To try to stop this would be like try- wo community was the best source of accurate informa- ommunity ing to hold back the tide. If medical marketers are medica tion about treatments. There are legitimate reasons on blind to it, they’re at a major disad disadvantage. But if for this. Encyclopedia-style sites and pharma sites r they know where it’s happening, t they can be part have to publish veriﬁable, generic information that’s ave of that force.” not germane to any individual.” ot Jack Barrette, CEO of WEGO Health, says DeBronkart, who turned 60 in February and lives of deBronkart represents the future o self-managed in Nashua, NH, built his career on marketing analyt- care. “Companies should look at him as a visitor from ics. He’s now increasingly active on the healthcare s. the future and ﬁgure out how to interact with some- inte front, running e-patientdave.com, managing the blog ont, one like him who is passionate about his health and abou e-patients.net, which reaches about 10,000 people patients.net, extremely comfortable with technology,” explains techn a month, and consulting and speaking about Barrette. “His skill in beating bushes and asking bu e-Patients and participatory medicine. The Patients the right questions has made him into an m term “e-Patient,” coined by the late Dr. Tom rm how advocate who knows h to reach tens Ferguson, refers to “equipped, enabled, erguson, of thousands of peo people online.” empowered and engaged” patients. Last mpowered Creating online tools for patients year, deBronkart and his primary care phy- ear, is a way deBronkart thinks phar- deBronk sician Dr. Daniel Z. Sands were elected cian
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