By Patricia Salber

Pat Salber
Patricia Salber, MD, MBA, Host of The Doctor Weighs In & CEO of Health Tech Hatch

I’m a physician and have spent a lot of time over the years attending Medical Conferences talking to my colleagues about stuff we can do for and to patients.  As I look back on these meetings, I must say, with few exceptions, the folks we were talking about – the patients – were not there.

Here’s a recent example.  I attended a Patient Engagement panel at a big conference on Accountable Care Organizations in Washington DC this summer. There were four speakers and a moderator – all health care people – not a patient in sight. Imagine spending an hour or so debating how to engage patients when there were no actual patients on the panel.  Pretty funny, except it isn’t.

Some folks would argue that we are all patients, so why do we need more patients to attend medical meetings.  Because, I would argue, even though I am a patient and my doctor and nurse friends are patients, we are also health professionals.  We understand the jargon.  We know what to expect from the illness and the treatment.  We know how to work the system.  And, probably most significant of all, our doctors know we are doctors and nurses and they treat us differently.

So I was really glad to learn that The Society for Participatory Medicine has established a Travel Scholarship fund so to help patients attend medical meetings and conferences.  What a good idea.

To support them in this effort, I have worked with Regina Holliday, an extraordinary patient advocate, to set up a Health Tech Hatch Crowdfunding Campaign to raise money so that patients can attend the upcoming (first ever) first-ever Partnership with Patients Summit in Kansas City, Mo., on September 21-23, 2012. 

Health Tech Hatch is my new Crowdfunding and Beta Testing platform that supports entrepreneurs and innovators in Health and Health Tech.  Crowdfunding is a cutting edge way to raise money for worthy projects and companies.  Instead of a few wealthy people giving a lot of money, crowdfunding platforms facilitate many people giving a little.   The small contributions add up over time and can become significant dollars.  Crowdfunding democratizes fund-raising and lets everyone have a chance to participate in supporting great ideas that catch their fancy.

So back to this Campaign.  Regina hopes to raise $5,000 by September 15 for that 10 patients to attend the Partnership with Patients Summit.  The money will go into the Society’s Travel fund and because the Society is a 501c3, the donations can be listed on your income tax return as a charitable donation.

Grantees will be based on review of a 500 word essay, posted to their blog, that explains why they would be a strong candidate for the scholarship to the Partnership with Patients Summit. Applicants will send a link from their at blog post, either by Facebook or Twitter to @ReginaHolliday.  She will send it on to the other  members of the Society’s review committee. Posts must be live on the blog by September 8th to be considered for the scholarship for this event.

It is easy to make a donation to this Campaign via Health Tech Hatch even though the site is currently in private beta testing.  Wee believe this Campaign is so important that we do everything we can to help you access the site.  Send me an email, and I will register you as a “Verified User”  and send you a return email with the link to the funding page.  Click on the link and back this project.

This project must be fully funded by September 15 to access any of the funds raised.  (If it fails to reach the goal of $5,000,  contributions will be refunded to the donors.)  If the project is fully funded before the deadline, Health Tech Hatch will make an additional $500 donation, thus helping one more patient to attend the conference.

Help us Help Patients attend Partnership with Patients.  You will be glad you did (and so will we).

BTW, here is a great video of Regina explaining why it is so important that we have (empowered) patient advocates:

Patricia Salber MD, MBA (@docweighsin)
Patricia Salber, MD, MBA is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Doctor Weighs In. She is also the CEO of Health Tech Hatch, the sister site of TDWI that helps innovators tell their stories to the world. She is also a physician executive who has worked in all aspects of healthcare including practicing emergency physician, health plan executive, consultant to employers, CMS, and other organizations. She is a Board Certified Internist and Emergency Physician who loves to write about just about anything that has to do with healthcare.


  1. This hits the nail on the head, exactly….where are the patients at our meetings? There are medical meetings in your own locale, hospital staff meetings, department meetings. patients need to be involved in the workings of their own health system.


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