A few weeks ago, I attended my first Health 2.0 conference. The energy level and innovation present was invigorating. There is a level of engagement at this conference that I have not seen at other healthcare conferences, and it all started on a Sunday afternoon with the Patients 2.0 session.
Listening and participating in the patient stories we have experienced brings it all home, in the sense of what we are trying to enable and do in our various roles in the industry. During this session, one of the people I met was Ryan Witt. Ryan is involved in healthcare through his work at DrChrono as well as his work with the people involved in Patients 2.0 and overall patient advocacy initiatives.
Below is an interview with Ryan. Please read through this and participate in a patient on-line survey he is championing. Take 5 minutes and complete the survey. We appreciate your help and input.
Interview with Ryan Witt
1) What is your involvement with Patients 2.0?
Witt: I volunteered with the Patient Needs (team of 17 total members) and Learning from Other Organizations Work Groups to help design the Patients’ 2.0 event. In these Work Groups, we were to discuss and come up with a program relevant to the following questions:
Patient needs: How do patient needs differ during times of wellness and sickness? What can we learn from the way patients transition between these phases?
Learning from Other Organizations: What can we learn from the financial industry, spiritual communities, the military, social media, traditional media, and other organizations and industries?
2) Why did you get involved in Patients 2.0?
Witt: This was my first time volunteering and attending a Patients 2.0. I became involved because I think it’s very important for patients to take an active stance in improving healthcare, and I wanted to help in any way possible. I went to Health 2.0 last year and missed Patients 2.0, unfortunately. I couldn’t let that happen again this year. The Patient Needs and Learning from other Organizations Work Groups were two groups I felt I could contribute towards given my prior experience in patient advocacy and education.
3) As part of your involvement, you are encouraging people to participate in a survey. What is the survey about, and what will happen with the information collected?
Witt: This survey is in the spirit of empowerment, and has the goal to help patients and the healthcare industry to learn where to move forward next in a patient-centered town. What this means is to discover the different segments of patients and discover those patients’ needs — whether they are the healthy person who sees the doctor once a year for a checkup, the patient chronically ill with Crohn’s Disease, or the terminal patient with 4 months projected left of life.
In a few months, we will collect this information and sift through it — hopefully discovering some answers to the aforementioned question of what does each particular segment of patients need, now? As well, we hope to potentially discover an abstract of the spectra of all patient needs and be able to place each segment on that spectra.
4) After attending Patients 2.0 and Health 2.0, what encouraged and discouraged you about our healthcare system?
Witt: Patients 2.0 and Health 2.0 is only encouraging about our healthcare system. These two events work to bring constituencies together to improve the healthcare in a manner which works for all parties. This is the only way things will get done in a lasting way. It will not happen if we sit in our offices each day, as we risk siloing ourselves in a tunnel-visioned hole (which is good for getting things done, but not in the long run if you have no idea what anyone else is doing). At Patients 2.0 and Health 2.0, we have payer representatives, providers, government officials, lawyers, patients and patient advocates, and more. It doesn’t get much better.
5) The last question in the patient survey is: “What is the most important thing to you as a patient/health consumer, right now, in your own words?” So, what is your answer?
Witt: Oh, g-d. My answer is to reform “compassionate use” to be more opportune for individual patients fighting for their lives. Right now, people are dying who have hope but have roadblocks stopping them from realizing that sliver of hope. Anymore said and I’d start crying, so I’ll stop now. (This is sort of what my grandfather went through…or, didn’t go through.)
6) How can people get more involved in Patients 2.0 or similar initiatives?
Witt: We launched a website: www.health2con.com/patients20/. Other options include:
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/patients20.
- Health 2.0 blog: http://www.health2news.com/.
- For similar initiatives, I’d like to plug the Society for Participatory Medicine.
- Follow events – I go to (largely healthcare and medical care events): http://plancast.com/ryanwitt.
- Right now, there are quite a few events and they’re mainly scattered (you have to keep your eyes open). Some keywords to follow are “patient empowerment,” “participatory medicine,” and “shared decision making.”
Thank you, Ryan, for participating in this interview and for your work in Patients 2.0! Everyone, please take 5 minutes and complete this patient survey. Help the Patients 2.0 initiative by providing your insights!
We are all patients, so let’s get more involved. I also agree with Ryan on the Society for Participatory Medicine. This is an excellent group to join and participate in the conversations. I recently became a member, and I have gained a lot already from the exchanges. We need to take a leadership role in our health care.
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