Patients Are My Co-Pilot


No longer just passengers, patients are now co-pilots helping to navigate the future of medical progress. But until recently, the pace of progress has been slow. In some diseases, we still utter the words “we haven’t seen a new treatment in decades” with a straight face. Decades. Are we seriously accepting this?

I recently heard a TedTalk by Andrew Solomon, “Depression, the secret we share,” where he described the current treatment options for depression as being full of side effects, costly, and appalling all at the same time. But he is so grateful he lives now and not 50 years ago when there weren’t treatment options. “I hope that 50 years hence people will hear about my treatments and be appalled that anyone endured such primitive science,” Solomon said. Depression, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, rare disorders – we could say this about so many areas. In fact, the list is long, and where there are treatments they almost always could be enhanced for patients.

We’ve all heard the dismal statistics: 10,000 known diseases with only 500 treatments. Not great odds if you’re a patient. And most of us are, or will be at some point. At 15 years and over $1 billion to bring one new therapy from lab to market, we not only have work to do, we actually have an opportunity to do some of it – now.

A perfect storm is brewing – and patient engagement is at its epicenter. It’s a long, storied history to get us to this point. From the March of Dimes to the Patient’s Bill of Rights to the ACT UP movement, patient-driven efforts pushed boundaries that allowed the medical research and healthcare systems to pave new ground.

We are at a turning point once again with the <a target="_blank" —> Read More