So it all started with a simple tweet of a feeling that I had during the day, the tweet said “Wanted to thank @zorg20 @health20paris @epatientdave and @ciscogiii for reminding me the reason I became a Doctor.”
(Little did I know that E-Patientdave would make me write an essay with a simple question: “How had they helped…?”
Each of them had played a very important role in a short timeline and most of it was due to serendipity.
For quite some time I have been analyzing the flaws around me (mainly in the hospital) and imagining how I could solve or improve them. I have no rule, improving and creating applies to everything. Helping students, residents, patients, faculty, hospitals, nurses, you name it. The “How it would be done,” follows a tangent, and that is not the point of this letter. So, I’ll cut to the chase, as to the why I mentioned these four people’s influence, and why I thanked them so profoundly.
So it begins…
Two months ago you could have asked me what I thought about social media, I would have said “Waste of Time; Useless.” How this had become my opinion, or more importantly, how Social Media in Healthcare phenomenon and its power slipped my mind, I have no idea since I’m quite the computer geek… Now, it is constantly present and I cannot stop thinking about its enormous potential.
About one month and a half ago I serendipitously stumbled with Lucien Engelen when I opened Linkedin account; how and why, I have no clue since I only had one other user in the account and that was Dr. X; having added him because I imagined a medical device very similar to what he had created and wanted to learn about his background. A couple of days after adding Dr. X, Lucien Engelen added me to his network. My first reaction was, “Who is this guy and why is he adding me?” I decided to Google him and found TEDxMaastricht. I Watched his video about AED4EU and awestruck thought to myself “Wow. This is truly amazing”. I continued watching the videos and one after the other they captivated my sense of wonder, inspiring me to create. One in particular was Dave deBronkart or as you may know him Epatientdave, who talked about his cancer in a very special and unique way, finalizing in an uplifting manner. I was speechless. In what hole had I buried my head? How could this all have passed me by?
I continued to wonder in the internet and stumbled on Futuremed at Singularity University. I did not know who was speaking or participating but after reviewing the program I knew I had to go. Funny to mention during that time Lucien or Dave where not mentioned as faculty. Anyways, the possibility of me going to futuremed was slim. I had to manage schedule coverage, clinic coverage, call coverage, permission of my Program Director for a meeting he never heard off and quite frankly nobody else had, and most importantly support from my wife that would be on her 38th week of pregnancy during this time.
Everything worked out, how??? Serendipity? Coincidence? Law of attraction? Call it what you may, I was going to be able to attend Futuremed at Singularity University!
When I found out, the next thing I did was to update my linked in status which said “I am going to futuremed!” couple of hours later Lucien tells me that he is going to be faculty and then figured out Epatientdave also would be. During the time before the meeting Lucien recommended me certain readings on Ehealth 2.0, Web 2.0 etc which started opening my eyes even more. To this day Lucien is still giving me advice and answering many questions for which I am grateful.
I started using twitter to follow certain people. This is when I also noticed an important fact (Tell me who you follow and I will tell you who you are) no one followed “Partying Celebrity” types; twitter was used in a productive way. Shortly after getting twitter, somehow I stumbled with Denise Silber, I assume by a comment, a tweet or something Lucien had mentioned. She told me I had to go to doctors 2.0 (which I would love to but I can’t due to scheduling, who knows maybe something changes) she saw my interest and told me to contact Brian Vartabedian @doctor_v and Victor Montori @vmontori. I have now spoken with @vmontori through twitter and he graciously offered to analyze the possibility in helping in some way for me to attend the incoming meeting at Mayo. I have not had the chance to speak with @doctor_v much but he offered kindly to have a cup of java and talk about social media and medicine which will likely be very interesting. I did not know anyone with similar interest in my area, and Denise Silber, being hundreds of miles away directed me to 2 people that can have a big impact in my life for reason I will
So the Futuremed day comes and I meet this 26@ charismatic kid (or so he says but I still do not believe him due to his knowledge in what seems to be everything). Francisco Grajales aka (Cisco)@ciscogiii can make friends with a brick wall if he so pleases. He is always willing to help. I mean I only met him for a 6 intense days at the meeting but I consider myself a pretty good judge of character and believe his to be as genuine as it gets. So how did @ciscoiii affect me? First he is a friend for life, second he is a good resource to have (I will not ignore that) but here comes the most important part which I already mentioned. HE CAN BECOME FRIENDS WITH A BRICK WALL. This guy can make a mute talk, no kidding. Reminds me of a little more energetic me. He reminded me of the way I was in med school. I need to use this energy once again with my patients. Make them laugh, make them want to speak more with me (that being I don’t get a clinic so packed it only allows me to say hello), it is something we lose over time because of scheduling, typing notes, hospital chores. The most gratifying issue of being a doctor is overshadowed by all the other “useless” things. Here is where Dave de Bronkaart (@Epatientdave) made reminded me of a very important thing. In a doctor-patient relationship we should be a team. We should be a pretty damn good team that trusts each other.
When we all talk about tools to manage patients we all come up with these fancy apps in the computer, in the smartphone, in whatever you please, but a lot of us have been blind to the most important one. The one that has been in front of us all this time, but we did not see because of a “disease” that I know call “E-patient hemianopsia”. The cure is very simple, trust your patient. He wants to get cured more than anything else and due to this he has likely done research and wants to share it with you. Once we decide to give him a chance the Epatient will materialize in front of our eyes and help you more than we think. Being an E-Patient takes discipline and therefore not anyone can be called one… But when he comes to your office, give him a chance, you will be surprised on what both of you can accomplish. Dave, E-Patientdave is a living example.
Thank you all for everything, I look forward in meeting you again soon. In Denise’s case I look forward in meeting you, but you have helped more than you think.
This comes from only knowing you guys for 6 days with limited interaction. I could probably write a book after being a month with you!