All across health care we see examples of patients starting to drive more of their health care decision making. This as all sorts of good and bad consequences, but I think it’s fair to say that this train has already left the station. I think that most of this shift is coming thanks to a massive increase in high deductible plans and easily accessible health information.
As part of the next evolution in patient involvement in their care, I was fascinated to discover patients designing their own health care experience in what they’re calling a d-Patient (a take off of the popular e-Patient). The movement is inspired and led by Katie McCurdy and her story.
The second in the series of D-Patient stories comes from Logan Merriam. Logan has Crohn’s Disease and had been battling this chronic disease for many years when he came to this realization:
I’ve realized that I am the only person who will prioritize the symptoms I care about, and I need to be responsible for solving them. And as it turns out, I’m also the foremost expert on my illness.
He then goes on to describe how he was able to better communicate his health challenges to his doctor:
At one point I was frustrated by a particular medication that was ping-ponging me back and forth between its side effects and my Crohn’s symptoms. I tried, clumsily, to explain the rollercoaster I was experiencing without much success. At the time I was getting my degree in graphic design, so finally I opened Adobe Illustrator, drew a graph of the situation, and emailed my gastroenterologist to show him what I was feeling:
This image immediately helped his doctors to be on the same page as him and start looking at options to solve his problems. Plus, he says that it forced him to codify and understand the problem himself.
You can go read the rest of his story here, but it leads to Logan designing his own health app called Flaredown including a successful Indiegogo campaign. What great examples of patients deciding not to wait. They’re starting to take control of their health and that’s a great thing. I love patients who are respectfully involved in their health care. The best doctors I know love it too.