This post is in honor of e-Patient Dave, on two fronts:
Point 1: Old prejudices die hard, even among well intentioned people.
There's a site called The Web Nurse with lots of useful information about online training to be a nurse. They recently published a list of "Top Blogs to Learn About Medicine." I was flattered to be included, but then I started looking at the list. Do you see what's missing? There is a not a single blog written from the point of view of patients, by patients, or for patients.
If you look to the right, I have a list of almost 20 excellent ones, especially this one, without trying very hard. Can't a nursing site do better?
I don't think I would have noticed this a year ago, but I have had the message pounded into me by Dave's blog (compounded by a bit of training from IHI's Maureen Bisognano).
Point 2: Symptoms give rise to differing possible diagnoses.
Dave himself was recently invited to speak to the regional San Francisco Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society meeting. He reported to me:
20 minutes into the talk, the lights in the left side of the room went out. Somebody suggested "Motion detector?" Well, there were 50 people on that side of the room, so I didn't think it likely, but I went over and waved my arms, and the lights came on. Since that didn't happen any other time that day, it appears that side was motionless long enough that the sensors thought everyone had gone home. :)
I replied that this indicated one of two things. Either he put everyone to sleep, or they were in rapt attention and therefore not moving. Based on our recent Grand Rounds, I surmised the latter, because I saw the same effect with our doctors. But you never know. Maybe he had a bad day.
Fortunately for Dave's future speaking career, the riddle was solved by a report from Jan Oldenburg of Kaiser, board member of Northern California HIMSS, who organized the event. She said that a board member described the talk as "mesmerizing."