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Patients who EXTEND SCIENCE when medicine is out of answers

About the Book

There is a frontier at the edge of knowledge…

... and at that frontier, humanity is constantly building outward, and constantly discovering new needs. In that gap, between here and the future, lies uncertainty and opportunity. We depend on legitimate experts to be our guides there – but when the experts say “There’s nothing more we can do,” what do you do?

A lifetime ago, only scientists and academics could extend that frontier. Today patients sometimes do.

Extending the frontier of knowledge requires access to information and tools. Today both are available to many, not just the elite, in ways that simply weren’t possible a generation ago. Predictably, when the ability to learn became real, some people who were activated and motivated, and had sickness in the family, picked up their shovels. And some succeeded in adding to what’s known at the frontier.

They created new knowledge – extending science – and some have even created new treatments and products.

Who is this book for?

  • Patients and families who want to help with a case – especially those with cases at the edge of medical knowledge. Go for it. The great mass of medical services are on the superhighways, where common diseases are; in your byways, the less common cases – or where the system is out of answers – people like you can be a major force.
  • Open-minded researchers and scientists. Let patients help, and don’t try to corner new knowledge. That is restraint of progress for personal benefit, and that’s corruption.
  • Medical students, who aren’t yet tainted by old thinking. Today’s most senior physicians mastered their craft in the era before fliphones (never mind smartphones), so they’re at elevated risk of not understanding how things work today. Don’t grow up polluted by outdated attitudes among your mentors. Read the quotes by Max Planck and Charles Darwin. And as you gain decades of experience, don’t stay stuck! Expect change; stay on top of it.
  • Doctors who still tell patients to “stop googling.” You’ll see that this attitude is archaic, focused on getting your work done in an archaic system. Not only does that attitude keep patients in the dark; it can keep you benighted.

See more information, including some superpatient profiles, on the book's web page on my site.

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    Contact the Author(s)

About the Author

Dave deBronkart
Dave deBronkart

Cancer survivor “e-Patient Dave” is an international keynote speaker on healthcare and author of the highly rated Let Patients Help. An MIT management graduate with a career in high tech, he's accomplished communicator and healthcare visionary. A co-founder and chair emeritus of the Society for Participatory Medicine, he has appeared in TimeU.S. NewsUSA TodayWiredMIT Technology Review, and the HealthLeaders cover story “Patient of the Future.” His writings have been published in the British Medical Journal, Patient Experience Journal, iHealthBeat, and the conference journal of the American Society for Clinical Oncology. In 2009 HealthLeaders named him and his doctor to their annual list of “20 People Who Make Healthcare Better,” and he’s appeared on the cover of Healthcare IT News, Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare, and the Australian GP magazine Good Practice.

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