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Quality Improvement Using Patient Self-Management: Video Debate

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Earlier this year, when I traveled to Denmark to review some of their Health IT companies, I spent a couple of days with Joe Ternullo of Partners Healthcare and their Center for Connected Health. Joe is a gentleman in the classic sense of the word and one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet; I was amazed at how connected he was to outcomes-driven health IT and quite impressed with his knowledge of the industry.

Joe kindly invited me to speak at Partners Connected Health Symposium as the kick-off debater on a topic entitled “Current Approaches to Patient Self-Management Do Little to Improve Quality or Lower Costs.” He convinced me to go outside of my comfort zone and say that I agree with the position that patient self-management (basically using computers, smartphones, and software to self-manage their healthcare) doesn’t really improve quality or lower costs.

Given that I’m “The Healthcare IT Guy” I am accustomed to taking the opposite position (that the act of patient self-management usually does enhance care quality and reduce costs) but I figured I’d have fun debating Dr. Joe Kvedar on his home turf and in his area of expertise even if I was taking an unfamiliar position. Dr. Kvedar, a most congenial fellow, took it easy on me and the debate went well.

Joe Ternullo asked me to take the position against the premise of the Connected Health Symposium to make sure we left no stone unturned in evaluating the real benefits because we need to critically appraise patient self-management.


The video of our debate is available here. It was a gentlemanly debate focused on raising issues and provoking thought but I hope you’ll take a look and let me know which points you agree with and which side you think “won” :-)

In working with Cynthia Bouthot, our accomplished multi-talented moderator, and the organizers of the Symposium, I learned quite a bit about both sides of the argument. Cynthia kept us on topic and on time and she did great teeing up some important questions.  I’m grateful that Joe Ternullo invited a geek like me to do the debate with an eminent physician and thankful to Dr. Kvedar for letting me share the stage with him. Hopefully they’ll ask me to come back next year.

Leave me some comments below on what you thought about the debate.

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