Let Patients Help! - Must-Read for People with Migraines and Headaches

Teri Robert @trobert Health Guide
  • To maximize the effectiveness of our appointments with the doctors who treat us for Migraines and headaches, we must have a doctor who wants to work with us as treatment partners, AND we must be the best treatment partner possible.


    Of all the issues affecting those of us with Migraines, working with our doctors as treatment partners is very high on my list. We know our bodies best, and we have the most at stake in our Migraine treatment, so it's vital that we learn about Migraine disease and take an active part in our own care and treatment.


    Dave deBronkart, better known as "e-Patient Dave," has a new book out that I can't recommend highly enough. The book is Let Patients Help, and the subtitle is A "patient engagement handbook - how doctors, nurses, patients, and caregivers can partner for better care.

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    Before I go on, I should explain that Dave talks a great deal about e-patients. Since we're online, one might think the "e" stand for electronic, but it doesn't. It stands for empowered and engaged, and what those words mean when it comes to patients are explained fully and beautifully in the book.


    Let Patients Help has some basics and a short glossary that precede the three main sections of the book:

    • Part 1: Ten Fundamental Truths about Health and Care
    • Part 2: Ten Ways to Let Patients Help
    • Part 3: Tip sheets: How To Be e-Patients and Empowering Providers (This section was written with Dr. Danny Sands.)

    These three sections are followed by an extraordinary epilog, and appendix, plus information about Dave. You may remember Dave from his video in my post Migraines and Medical Records - It's Our DaM Data.


    I could continue with my opinion of Let Patients Help, but offering you some quotes from the book will, I believe, give you a more complete impression of it:

    • "Patient is not a third person word."
    • "Patients are the most under-used resource."
    • "We all know something. No one knows everything. (Not even doctors.)"
    • "Clinicians have information overload, but the internet lets ordinary patients see information that their doctors might not. Yikes: does that clash with our cultural assumptions!"
    • "Nobody can do their best if they don't have relevant facts. This has turned out to be one of the most pervasive cultural disconnects I've seen in medicine..."
    • "Health is not medicine. Treatment is not care. From now on for me it's not 'healthcare,' it's 'health and care.'"
    • "It's perverse to keep people in the dark then call them ignorant."

    There are some magnificently helpful lists in Let Patients Help:

    • Ten things e-patients say to engage in their care
    • Ten things clinicians say that encourage patient engagement
    • Ten things clinicians say (or do) that discourage patient engagement
    • For patients: collaborating effectively with your clinicians
    • and more!

    I want to share one more paragraph from Let Patients Help. It tells you why Dave wrote the book, and why I think we should all own a copy:

    In this short book I’ve distilled my view of the movement into short sets of ten points and ten actions, with an even simpler title: Let Patients Help. Why short and simple? Because big books don’t get read, but concise instructions are easy to grasp. And I want you to grasp these points.

    If we're to manage our Migraines as well as possible, the day of the silent, blindly obedient patient must be over. We can't expect to walk into a doctors office and be given a prescription for a miracle that will immediately bring our Migraine under control. We must be part of the process, an informed and active part of our health care team. Let Patients Help is a wonderful too for getting there and staying there. The book is fairly widely available and quite affordable. I got my copy on Amazon, where the paperback is $7.20, and the Kindle edition is $6.00.


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    Live well,

    PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1


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    © Teri Robert, 2014
    Last updated March 21, 2014.

Published On: March 17, 2014