Giovanna Marsico, founder of CancerContribution has been one of the early supporters of Doctors 2.0 & You. She will return to speak about Patient Advocacy and the Use of Social Media on June 4th in a session with panelists from Europe, the US, and Africa. Denise Silber interviewed Giovanna prior to the event.
Q1 Giovanna, You are a lawyer by training. How did you become interested in healthcare, the cause of patients, and digital tools?
When someone gets interested in healthcare, you can bet he/she has been previously involved in a related personal experience. Healthcare is a sensitive field where people are challenged by their own relation with natural, human vulnerability. My personal history was impacted by close family illnesses. During my childhood I realized how easily a sickness could stop or modify a good adult life. Afterwards as a young mother, I again felt powerless and destitute in facing the sickness of my baby boy.
Patients and caregivers need tools that help them to reduce the gap between the life they expected to live and the one they wind up living because of the illness. Digital tools do this and contribute to reducing inequalities in access to care.
Q2 You created CancerContribution in 2011 and were a first “cause” recognized by Doctors 2.0 & You. How is CancerContribution compared to what you first set out to do?
Cancer Contribution was born as a web platform and a community of cancer shareholders interested in contributing to healthcare design. Today Cancer Contribution has become a non-profit organization and it keeps on involving the citizens’ point of view in policymaking. The first three years of the activity enabled the platform to find its place in the healthcare environment, to be recognized by decision-makers, to build-up partnerships with other organizations at a French and an international level.
Q3 You have been following participatory healthcare, health and medicine 2.0, since our earliest Doctors 2.0 & You events. What do you think has changed the most for patients now by 2015 versus five years ago?
The development in recent years of digital technology tools – tablets, mobile phones, applications and connected objects – have revolutionized the way users seek, use, disclose, select information and work together in a network. This evolution towards Health 2.0 and mHealth (or mobile health) has contributed significantly to developing a different attitude in both patients and others. People are more conscious of the need to hold on to their good health through prevention, and the right to participate in health quality assessment. This “empowerment” is based on a notion of self-efficacy, especially for patients with chronic diseases who find ways to be more involved in their care et to improve their relationship with the medical team.
Q4 You also co-created a business called Patients & Web. How does it feel to also be an entrepreneur?
Working with my partner Catherine Cerisey is a great experience. We are fortunate to have gained the trust of healthcare stakeholders for whom we pilot patient-driven projects. Being entrepreneurs gives us the chance to work on a wide range of actions that are informed by patient opinion. We are working to modify the way others think and develop a more patient-oriented attitude.
Q5 You have said that Doctors 2.0 & You is a must-attend event. Why are you excited to get involved?
Because it is the best and the only place to be when you have a passion for innovation and culture, for sharing knowledge, for the future of healthcare and for friendship!
Find Giovanna on Twitter at @giomarsi
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