Through blogs and comments, patients and experts explore what it takes to find good health care and make the most of it.

An Accidental Tourist Finds Her Way in the Dangerous Land of Serious Illness


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Health Affairs February issue, A New Era of Patient Engagement, selected my essay, An Accidental Tourist Finds Her Way in the Dangerous Land of Serious Illness, for its Narrative Matters piece. In the essay, I share experiences from my latest cancer diagnosis and call for policies to support patients and families with the increased responsibilities they face to find good health care and make the most of it.

I am grateful for the leadership of Susan Dentzer, editor-in-chief of Health Affairs, in recognizing the centrality of patient engagement to the success of the health care enterprise. Susan’s foreword describes patient engagement as the “blockbuster drug” of the century.I am delighted that the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shined their bright light on this topic through their sponsorship of this issue.

And I deeply appreciate the creativity and scholarship that all the authors in this issue have devoted to laying the empirical groundwork that gives the field of patient engagement the scientific stature it must have to serve as the basis for changes in health care policy and practice.

Because it will take a lot of heat, light, scientific evidence and commitment to make sure we can all engage fully in our health care.

That is, that each of us – me, you, your mom and your neighbors, your kids and your co-workers – can act to make use of the tools of health care to meet the aim we all hold in common: to live as well as we can for as long as we can.

More Blog Posts by Jessie Gruman

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Jessie C. Gruman, PhD, was founder and president of the Center for Advancing Health from 1992 until her death in July 2014. Her experiences as a patient — having been diagnosed with five life-threatening illnesses — informed her perspective as an author, advocate and lead contributor to the Prepared Patient Blog. Her book, AfterShock, helps patients and caregivers navigate their way through the health care system following a serious or life-threatening diagnosis. The free app, AfterShock: Facing a Serious Diagnosis, offers a pocket guide based on the book. | More about Jessie Gruman

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Patient Engagement   Jessie Gruman   Find Good Health Care   Communicate with your Doctors  

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George Patrin, MD says
March 16, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Such an important story. We must listen and learn.