When I started my website, Chronic Curve, back in 2010, I did not knowingly enter the world of patient advocacy. What started as a personal outlet has grown into a community for other adults with chronic diseases and chronic pain; specifically types of autoimmune arthritis and auto inflammatory diseases.
Patient advocacy—especially in the context of social media outreach—has really only just started to establish its place in health care. The growth of Chronic Curve has nurtured an incredible passion for improving the doctor-patient relationship and utilizing social media as a tool to connect patients with their clinicians, improve communication, and break through the stigma of chronic pain and chronic pain management. While I bring many ideas, a unique perspective, and my own personal experiences to the table, I want to learn how to better build a bridge between patients and their physicians and grow as a more effective patient advocate.
I hope to share and brainstorm ideas with others; create lasting connections with fellow attendees; better understand the field of patient advocacy and innovation as a whole; and gain fresh perspectives from individuals with far more knowledge and experience than myself. ePatients are far more powerful when we come together for the cause, and it is community that advances awareness, funding, innovation, and ultimately success in improving patient care. I hope to gain insight into how others work to improve the doctor- patient relationship, how other patients in different advocacy communities are sharing information with their physicians, and gain outside perspectives on patients and issues like chronic pain management and patient care.