Teaching Doctors

I am incredibly excited to be invited as an ePatient Scholar to speak at Stanford’s Medicine X in September 2015.  I have had the honour of being a scholar in 2012 on the design track with IDEO and remotely in 2014 to talk about the under-served.  This time though, I get to be a part of something new and hopefully incredibly powerful – teaching doctors as part of Medicine X Ed.

Every time I enter a doctor’s office or meet a doctor at an ER, I see it as an opportunity to teach doctors.  Long gone are the days where I allow them to treat me with paternalistic gloves.  I expect to be a colleague in my care and that requires that I teach them as much as they teach me.

And so I bring articles and blog posts and other materials to help them understand the patient experience and, at times, to understand my complex health history (for more often than not, they need help with even the definition of some of my illnesses).  I of course highlight everything I bring for I know that doctors are only marginally better at reading materials than at listening.  Hopefully said highlighting (and sometimes side notes) directs their attention to important messages within the text that they might learn something that will not only help me but help other patients they encounter.

One day perhaps medical schools will actually invite patients in to teach classes on how to treat patients.  I don’t mean using us to practice on, but listening to us as lecturers.  Until then, I undertake this task one by one bringing in articles I think are important to understanding what it means to be a patient. Reading only journal articles (which are sometimes the only articles taken seriously) will not suffice. For it is only in understanding patients that you can truly hope to treat us.

Below are the articles I take (in alphabetical order, not order of importance).  Yes, the collection could be the start of a textbook size book.

I’ll certainly be updating this list as I discover more important writings.

I would love to know of other articles that have hit a chord with you that you believe doctors should read.

Some news to add (8/27/15):

*Further note, though I was honoured to be asked to speak at MedX Ed, due to health issues I will not be able to partake in this year’s conference. I am truly grateful for the kindness and support of the MedX team and encourage you to watch the conference online September 23-27, 2015. For more information visit: www.medicinex.stanford.edu


10 Responses to Teaching Doctors

  1. So happy for you and delighted that MedX attendees will benefit from your experience, wisdom, clarity and kick-assedness.

  2. Erin, this is such fantastic news – and what a concept for Med X to now include med ed. Thanks also for including not one, not two, but three of my blog posts on your list of articles you show to physicians. YAY!


  3. epatientdave says:

    Love it!! Congratulations!!

    • I also love hearing you’ll be a professor at the Mayo Clinic! One huge leap forward for the patient voice! Hope you’ll invite many epatient guest speakers to provide diversity of views. Would also love to know what course material you’ll be using!

      • epatientdave says:

        Actually, Erin, “visiting professor” is a bit overstated – I’m just a guest lecturer for a couple of days in March. But I’m happy to have them call the “professor”. 🙂

        My “course material” will be my very latest thinking about the “doctor knows best” paradigm, in light of all our evidence that it’s entirely possible for patients to bring real value to the table. Do we need a scientific revolution to adjust this??

  4. Dee Sparacio says:

    So happy that you will be going to MedX this year. I missed meeting you in person last year.
    I love your list of things you bring to your doctor.

    There is a program called Survivors Teaching Students run by the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance where ovarian cancer survivors tell their stories and share their experiences with med students. (http://www.ovariancancer.org/get-involved/survivors-teaching-students-sts/)

    Looking forward to presentation.


    • Love that there are programs like this. If only there were more – one in every med school and including voices from diverse patient backgrounds. One step forward at a time!

      Also look forward to getting to see people IRL. I very much missed that last year.

  5. Some other interesting articles have been collected by @Karen_Lnx and can be found here – http://foodallergysupport.olicentral.com/index.php/topic,9899.0.html

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