How Everyone Knows e-Patients

e-patient apparel

Just because you’re sick doesn’t mean you need to remain undercover.

EPATIENT If you aren't familiar with the terms e-Patient or e-Doctor, there are excellent resources on the Web like Society for Participatory Medicine [1], which among other activities sponsors the e-Patients [2] blog. You might also read one of several books like e-Patents Live Longer [3] by Nancy Finn. A handy table of definitions are also included in an earlier article prepared here at ClinicalPoster.com. After figuring out whether you are an e-Patient (or an e-Doctor), you are ready to take your message public — even if chronic illness limits outings to doctor visits.

Best Dressed e-Patients and e-Doctors

Do you call yourself an e-Patient? With an upward trajectory, about two thirds of adults have looked online for medical information. A rapidly growing number of people are becoming quite savvy with research tools and terminology as they care for themselves or family members. They cope with chronic conditions like HIV, cancer, diabetes, POTS, vertigo, asthma, migraines, or psoriasis but they are not limited to any particular disease. They find support in numbers and in educating themselves about care. As part of an empowered group, you can wear a vibrant e-Patient apparel to pharmacies, lab tests, doctor visits and hospital stays. In so doing, you will immediately transcend the awkward introduction and elevate the impression of the e-Patient — demonstrating it is something to be proud of. Doctors can set patients at ease by wearing e-Doctor apparel, using e-Doctor branded merchandise or displaying an e-Patient poster.

Where Are the Wears?

ClinicalPosters.com has created an online store for e-Patient apparel in association with CafePress.com. [4] It can be accessed from the "Apparel" tab when you visit Store.ClinicalPosters.com. Understand that purchasing merchandise from both stores requires two checkouts and that items ship separately. Garments and other merchandise like mugs, thermoses, calendars and mouse pads are fully guaranteed.

In the e-Patient Apparel store you will find dozens of styles and sizes. First and foremost, you'll want to wear imprinted clothing on doctor visits. They make great talking points when attending medical conferences. Give a personable gift like pajamas or underwear to e-Patients bedridden or perhaps in the hospital. Become an advocate when you go to the gym or run other errands. The second, and perhaps more important step, is to ask your healthcare provider what their e-Patient policy is. If they don't have one posted, you can direct them to, or offer to bring them, an e-Patient Policy poster during your next visit.

A fair number of patients have become quite competent at managing their own health.

Wearing the apparel in itself does not empower anyone with any special e-Patient status but it does validate the tireless efforts of many who are actively engaged in participatory medicine. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a good number of patients, when told of their new personal health responsibilities, respond by tell the doctor that “that’s your job.” To be sure, a fair number of patients have become quite competent at managing their own health. But it would be a mistake to assume that everyone is equally predisposed or capable of doing so. [5]

Don't keep your e-Patient identity undercover. Use customized merchandise to spread the word that e-Patients deserve the respect and quality of care that comes with being an empowered patient. Don't wear it as a badge for confrontation, wear it as a badge of courage and a reminder that you can personally become more involved in managing your own health.

Tags: clothes, coffee cups, drinkwear, entitled, epatients, t-shirts, wearables

References
  1. Society for Participatory Medicine. participatorymedicine.org
  2. e-Patients Blog. e-patients.net
  3. e-Patents Live Longer. Nancy B. Finn, M.eD. amazon.com
  4. ClinicalPosters e-Patient Apparel Store. cafepress.com/epatient
  5. Five Myths About Empowered Patients or e-Patients healthecommunications.wordpress.com
  6. What makes an e-Doctor? kevinmd.com. Martin Young, MD
  7. Physician online professionalism in social media kevinmd.com. Mark Ryan, MD