Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Smart Patients: The broader shift in the role of the patient in healthcare?

Today, we move to the next episode of Inside Outsourcing.  Partnerships in Clinical Trials keynote speaker Dr. Roni Zeiger, former chief health strategist at Google and co-founder and CEO of Smart Patients. He's going to take us on a journey to explore the how the views of the patients through patient communities can be leveraged and create a better environment for research and innovation in the clinical field.

Today, Roni shares:
Tell us a bit about Smart Patients. In what ways does the model you’re using reflect a broader shift in the role of the patient in healthcare?
Smart Patients is really the extension of work that my co-founder, Gilles Frydman, has been doing for many years. Gilles started building online communities for cancer patients back in the mid-90s when his wife got sick. He and I met when I was at Google a couple of years ago and we started talking about what the next generation system should look like for online communities in the health space, in particular for more severe illnesses like cancer. One thing led to another and I left Google to join him. We’ve been working together on Smart Patients for about two years now.

The real crux of the model is that we have a surprising number of informed, motivated, smart patients who really want to learn and share with each other about what they are learning. I think that, in general, our healthcare system—broadly speaking, whether it is on the healthcare delivery side or the drug development side—hasn’t tapped into that power. We are building these communities and the patients are very motivated. They are incredibly quick learners, so they teach each other. They bring their own research that they are learning from their clinicians, etc.

I think, in a way, this represents a couple of important shifts. One is that the static content model on which, for example, I based a lot of my work at Google, isn’t enough. Everyone’s situation is personalized enough and that’s one of the things that I think being in an online community can bring you. There are a lot of other people who know what you’ve been through. They have been through it or are taking care of people—their loved ones—and can help put into context what you’re learning. 
The other shift is that our healthcare system is designed to be not only expert-driven, but also to try to shove everything that needs to be done into that 15-minute visit, maybe an hour a year, and there are another 5,000 hours that patients have for self-care and learning with each other. I think it’s time that we did a better job of tapping into that.

For Roni's complete interview from Inside Outsourcing, including his views on including patients as partners in the clinical process, their care givers, and how sponsors and clinical researchers can overcome that obstacles that may arise, download the full podcast here.

Roni Zeiger will be presenting the keynote speech Patient Centricity and Data Converge: How the Next Generation of Social Medicine Impacts Clinical Trials at Partnerships in Clinical Trials on Tuesday, April 1.  To find out more about his presentation and the rest of the event, download the agenda.  If you'd like to join us, as a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1900BLOG, you'll save $100 off the current rate!

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