Dave deBronkart and Doc Searls: e-Patients Ride the Cluetrain

by Plutopia News Network

Dave deBronkart and Doc Searls take aim at the American healthcare system. They discuss empowered patients, medical technology, electronic medical records, and much more.

Dave, known on the internet as e-Patient Dave, is a blogger, health policy advisor and international keynote speaker. Dave beat stage IV kidney cancer in 2007.

Doc is an American journalist, columnist, and a widely read blogger. He was co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, a book about the impact of the Internet on marketing, claiming that conventional marketing techniques are rendered obsolete by the online “conversations” that consumers have and that companies need to join. And Dave just wrote a blog post called “The Evolution of Who Knows What: A Cluetrain Manifesto for empowered patients.”

Doc Searls: To my persistent astonishment, doctors want to communicate, send data to each other, by fax, an ancient analog technology. It’s still the case, it’s still the case!

Dave deBronkart: I know, I know. And there’s so much foolishness, you know. They will complain that email is not a secure way to send you your information, because it could leak. There are constant horror stories…

Doc: As a digital thing, you can leak, but an analog thing can’t leak, because it’s not digital… (laughs) exactly!

Dave: Well, guess what? There are constant horror stories of a doctor’s fax machine dialing the wrong number and sending all your information.

Doc: (Laughs) There’s an analog hole for you!


Doc Searls, The Patient as the Platform:

The new health care infrastructure must be built on independent and autonomous patients, not on systems that surround and subordinate patients. Once it is, the systems will be vastly improved, and far more profitable for all.

We cannot fix health care only at the institutional level. No company and no government agency can fix health care, any more than any company or government could fix networking or computing. Those had to be fixed by hackers building solutions for everybody and not just themselves. (Even if they were just “scratching their own itch”.) Today the Internet, Linux, and countless free and open source code bases are core infrastructural systems on which civilization itself relies. The amount of business this vast and growing infrastructure supports so far exceeds the amount it undermines and obsoletes that it’s silly to even bother doing the math — if it could be done in any case. One might as well argue against the Big Bang.

Jon Lebkowsky, “Doc Searls: patient as platform and ‘point of integration'”:

To have true independence and control, we need access to all of that data, and as Doc says, we need to be the “point of integration for the health care we get, and the point of origination for controlling that care.”

Dave deBronkart, “The Evolution of Who Knows What: A Cluetrain Manifesto for empowered patients”:

In recent speeches I’ve increasingly focused on a comparable change we can no longer deny: if “Knowledge itself is power,” as Francis Bacon said, then we can no longer deny that the power structure in medicine is changing as knowledge spreads. I’ve called it “The Evolution of Who Knows What,” and it’s hot stuff, because it’s undeniable and it’s truly changes what’s possible


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