Patient Empowerment 101 (Author Interview)

Patient Empowerment 101 looks like a fantastic guide.  Can you tell us a little about it?

Absolutely. Patient Empowerment 101 is not just a book, it’s an adventure! I purposely wrote the book in a conversation tone, interjecting humor here and there, to make readers feel like they were just talking to a friend who happens to be a physician. In the book, I give a wealth of practical, actionable tips to help people partner in their healthcare while they lower their healthcare costs. Readers learn how to communicate with physicians on an unprecedented level. When they develop common symptoms, such as abdominal pain or a respiratory infection, they can reach for the book to learn the common questions doctors ask for these symptoms.

I teach them how to prepare for each doctor’s visit in advance. In addition, they are taught essential information about the various types of health insurance. One of the most significant parts of the book is that it teaches how to create a personal copy of health records. It goes into detail about how to optimize your safety whenever hospitalized. Technology in healthcare and patient advocacy round up the book. It ends with 3 appendices; common medical tests and terms doctors use to discuss results, a glossary of common medical terms (with a pronunciation key), and a list of common medical abbreviations. Last, but certainly not least, readers are given access to a website created just for them. They can download fillable charts, take self-assessment quizzes, and watch quick empowerment videos featuring life-life characters.


How long did it take you to write Patient Empowerment 101?

I actually wrote and published part of the book over 20 years, ago. But, at that time people were not very interested in empowering themselves. Doctors basically told them what to do and they usually didn’t question it. They either followed the instructions or they didn’t. Now, people have become far more interested in being true partners in their healthcare. So, I updated some sections and add new information over the course of several months.


What inspired the idea for your book?

I knew that when given the right tools, patients could play an enormous role in their own health care. We go to medical school, but patients don’t have a patient school. They just need to be taught basic concepts we use day in and day out, but there was no clear way for them to obtain this information. I have seen an enormous amount of suffering and untold wasted healthcare dollars due to lack of simple information. I just wanted to help people understand how vital their role in their own care could and should be.


How did you come up with the title to your book?

The goal is to empower everyday people with invaluable tools to help them play a more active role in their healthcare. In undergraduate school, the courses ending in 101 were the foundation for a given subject. Such is the case with Patient Empowerment 101; it lays a vital foundation for people who want to take their rightful place, at the center of their own health care team.


What will readers get out of your book?

The book gives easy to follow steps to partner with your doctor to get the most out of every medical encounter, whether in a doctor’s office or a hospital. Readers also learn the 8 key elements many doctors want to know whenever a patient develops a new and concerning symptom. Their reimbursement from the insurance company is tied to these elements as well.

I also teach people how to create and maintain a copy of personal health records. As noted, I created a sister website with pages where readers can go to download charts to go into a 3-ring binder which serves as their personal copy of health records. The charts are in Word format, so once downloaded, users can fill them in directly on their computer, save, and print them.   


What part of the book was the most fun to write?

I think the most fun part was creating scenarios to illustrate to patients how the way they think is often very different from the way doctors think. These parts are fun to read yet filled with powerful insights.


Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing Patient Empowerment 101?

            I suspect the most challenging part was picking out the most important information that will have the biggest impact on people’s lives. There are so many challenges patients face, including those they are oblivious to. Picking out the topics that could be most beneficial, among a long list of potential topics took time.


Can you tell us a little about your background?

I am a board-certified internist with over 30 years of direct patient care experience. I actually started writing patient empowerment literature when I was in my 3rd of year of medical school. I saw so much unnecessary pain and suffering I just had to do something as soon as possible. I couldn’t wait until I had MD behind my name to start empowering people to live healthier, often longer lives. There is so much the average person does not know about how to improve his health. I wanted to jump in immediately and help people improve their lives.


Where can readers find out more about your work?

The book is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle eBook formats. The Patient Empowerment 101 Companion Book should be out by the end of December 2022.