Today marks the launch of the Journal of Participatory Medicine. The inaugural issue coincides with the kickoff of the Connected Health symposium today in Boston.
In the first issue of the Journal, Esther Dyson asks and answers the question, “Why Participatory Medicine?” She talks about the need for evidence that demonstrates what works in collaborative health care. “We are just at the beginning,” Esther says, “not of a brave new experiment that could end in disaster, but of multiple experiments, by thousands and ultimately millions of people, with variations in every parameter imaginable.”

Thoughtful perspectives are offered through the lenses of patients, providers, purchasers, nurses, technology developers and clinical researchers.

Finally, a bold research agenda is offered by Dr. David Kibbe and Dr. Joseph Kvedar focused on how to build the evidence base for participatory medicine:

1. What does participation in health mean?
2. How does a patient’s participation in medicine challenge the traditional role(s) of physicians?
3. How can technology be strategically, appropriate deployed in participatory medicine?
4. How can participatory medicine play a role in quality and new payment systems based on outcomes and performance?
5. What are the personal and societal “rules of the game” in the context of participatory medicine? Just how much responsibility should individuals bear? What’s the role of genes vs. individual responsibility for lifestyle choices? How much can we nudge people toward participation?

The Journal welcomes participation from all comers — which is what participatory health is all about. They’re collecting via crowdsourcing research papers from that demonstrate or reflect participatory medicine. See this link for instructions on how to be part of this growing crowd.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: What’s driving this emerging era of collaborative and participatory health? Kibbe and Kvedar see, “A confluence of factors…including an overburdened health care system and inexpensive, fast consumer access to targeted information, technologies, and peer support.”

Today, pioneering physicians, providers and patients are meeting in Boston at Connected Health to continue to gain insights and learnings into how participatory health can work to benefit patients, providers, and the public’s health. The most effective way to bend the cost curve in health is to get health citizens more engaged in their own health to manage the $1.7 trillion component of health spending that’s spent on chronic disease. We’ll need to realign incentives for both providers and patients to change the workflow in health care delivery and get the participants on the same page.

Participatory medicine is an integral part of spending smart in health care.