Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Looking Forward to MedX

Last year I was an ePatient Delegate to MedX; once it was over I was able to call myself an ePatient Scholar. 

Being there was an experience that changed me. Even though I made some super-klutzy moves that I will keep to myself, I have no regrets. Meeting so many Twitter friends and powerful patients who speak my language was an irresistible draw.

This year I won't be there, so you might ask, why am I looking forward to MedX? 

I'll be trying to watch on the livestream, but on Saturday I'll be at an all-day session of a Citizen Advisory Group, and on Sunday will be in a participatory meeting ensuring that elderly Canadians and their caregivers will have their voices heard.

Events like these were not on my calendar prior to Medicine X. It changed the way I look at the health care system and the role of patients in it. It also affected my confidence in the ability of patients, (including myself) to be involved in decisions about health care.

MedX is more than just a three day experience for the patients who attend - they all have work to do to prepare themselves. Giving an Ignite talk is more than just standing up and talking for five minutes. The presenters work on the Ignite talk all summer - they consult, prepare and practice.

The IDEO Design Challenge showed a different way to learn and think - reading books on Design Thinking, watching videos, and preparing the ideas - the "How might we..." statements that the prototypes are based on.

The ePatients on the production track work hard too - blogging, tweeting and publicizing the event before, during and after the conference. In addition there were other team building projects so that by the time  ePatient Delegates arrive at MedX they feel like part of a team.

You might wonder how this connects to looking forward to this year's MedX for me when I will miss so much of it?

The reason is that this process, the work that the ePatients do means that when the candidates arrive at Medicine X they are prepared - equipped for the conference, enthusiastic and ready to be changed.

Seeding like a dandelion (Sydney, Australia)

And that's what I look forward. Seeing more patient advocates develop larger profiles as coming year unfolds, seeing the connections they make help their work grow and spread, seeing more people who are empowered and confident of their abilities to change the way things work in healthcare. They're also ready to inspire others, to encourage them to go to MedX next year and create more change.

ePatients don't always just pop up out of nowhere - they need a little sunshine to grow, and that's what MedX is good at, so good luck and have fun to all of the new ePatient Delegates!

Connections. MedX 2012 from @symplur. 

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