Dave debronkart

Dave deBronkart

The Voice of Patient Engagement
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Program Descriptions

As the culture of medicine has evolved to newly recognize the role of patients in all aspects of health and care, explorations of patient engagement have expanded beyond my traditional topics of “Let Patients Help” and health data rights. As a foundation issue in health and care, the role of the patient touches everything. Recently added topics:

A futurist looks at AI in healthcare: What’s the matter with Watson? Famously, IBM Watson failed to improve cancer care, blowing hundreds of millions in the process. I was part of the earliest meeting that found cracks in Watson’s intellectual armor – cracks that turned out five years later to be its “cause of death.” We’ll discuss the fatal flaws that made the Jeopardy genius stumble in oncology and how we should think differently about medicine’s AI-enabled future.

Patient Experience, Empowerment, Engagement: a business leader’s view: As co-founders of the Society for Participatory Medicine, my doctor and I are international thought leaders on partnering with patients, and I authored of one of 2017’s highest-impact articles in Patient Experience Journal. With humor and insight, we’ll share lessons learned from my many patient experiences and my business career about the value of hearing customer perspectives. We’ll tie them to business outcomes in three domains: customer experience, business and social change, and cultural transformation.

Additional topics
e-Patients: Empowered, Engaged, Equipped, Enabled. My classic topic, delivered hundreds of times in 18 countries.

The Elderboom: how engaging with patients can change the future of again. More than half the humans who’ve ever been 65 are alive today, and I’m one …. yet there are only 7,000 board certified geriatricians in the US. This looks like a care disaster, but it’s the next logical step: we have so many elders because medicine kept us from dying! How can patient engagement alter what’s possible?

Palliative Care: Let patients tell us what care really means. First keynote on this subject was to Compassionate Care Coalition of California; standing ovation. Video available on request.

Genomics and Precision Medicine: This knowledge really is power. I survived kidney cancer and nobody knows why. What’s becoming newly possible?

The opioid crisis: integrating behavioral and primary care. Since 2012 I’ve been a patient voice in the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ)’s project to merge behavioral and mental health into primary care, the Integration Academy. The project has renewed urgency in the era of surging opioid deaths. Beyond opioids, all behavioral and mental health problems dramatically affect the patient’s role in health and care: Who can perform any job well if they have mood problems or worse? In this extremely current time-sensitive talk I will share the perspectives of the academics, clinicians and financial experts I’ve worked with and specific next steps providers can take.

Beating pre-diabetes with apps and a course at the Y: Type 2 diabetes is a major concern under accountable care and population health – but I’m living proof that change is possible. I got that diagnosis in my 60s and beat it by successfully changing my behavior, aided by e-health apps. I’ll share the story of how I changed my diet, walked a lot, then ran a mile (for the first time in my life!), became a 5K runner, and wound up with a cover story in a diabetes journal. As always I tell it with humor amid the insights, and and emphasis on the patient’s perspective on a chronic diagnosis.

Patient Empowerment Around the World: From New Zealand and Australia to Switzerland, Stockholm and Dubai, I’ve had the privilege of learning from audiences and sponsors in hundreds of events in 18 countries. OpenNotes, patient rights, transparency and cultural trends all vary widely, from the best (New Zealand’s avid adoption of e-health) to countries that openly advertise “Don’t google it – trust a professional!” What can we learn from the different stages of this rolling wave of social change?

Population health: the role of empowerment and engagement: The shift to accountable care means providers have more reason than ever to help patients succeed between visits – but how to do it?? As a co-founder of a medical society devoted to patient-clinician partnership, I share from personal experience and evidence how medicine is starting to understand what empowerment and engagement mean in practical clinical terms. Using validated models from empowerment movements outside healthcare, I’ll explain how it really works (how it feels!), and how data, training, and access to coaching can transform what your patients achieve.

The Quantified Self: How the data patients collect, and apps patients develop, are changing what’s possible in managing their care. Examples: Hugo Campos, Dana Lewis / #OpenAPS, Michael Seres of 11Health

How Patient Voices are changing Academic Journals. As a member of the BMJ’s Patient Advisory Panel I’m seeing how both the publishing process and peer review are altered when the ultimate stakeholder (the patient) is invited to guide research.

MACRA, accountable care and population health: Let patients help! The shift from fee for service to accountable care means there’s plenty of reason to help patients be successful at home, beyond direct contact with providers and services. How to do it??

Inspirational / motivational:
 I faced Stage IV (metastatic) kidney cancer, with a median survival of just 24 weeks. In less than a year I was cured, due partly to being a highly engaged patient; I went on to see my daughter’s wedding and become a grandfather and international keynote speaker. We have no idea what is possible when human potential is coupled with dedication and hard work.

Disruptive innovation – a first-hand tale and what we can learn.
 Ten years before The Innovator’s Dilemma my industry (graphic arts) went through profound disruption when desktop publishing put power in the hands of the consumer. I speak from experience when I tell how Christensen was right (in detail), how it feels to be under that steamroller, and how everyone must – and can – adjust and be flexible as the future evolves.

Facing change, adapting and thriving
; alternate title If you live long enough, things change! A generation ago we could choose a career and be set for life, so change can feel threatening. I know: my first industry doesn’t even exist anymore. The longer people live, the more change we see – to me it’s no longer a threat, it’s reason to celebrate and adapt. The good news: there are universal truths, and if you were smart in one era you can be smart in the next.

Why Book Dave DeBronkert?

  • Dave is an inspiring, entertaining speaker, a businessman who has earned extraordinary medical credentials: he was the Mayo Clinic’s Visiting Professor, was in the HealthLeaders cover story “Patient of the Future,” co-founded a medical society, is a patient advisor to the editors of the BMJ, and the National Library of Medicine is capturing his blog in its History of Medicine. His work now includes C-level roundtables and board retreats as well as conference keynotes.


  • Videos

    Biography Read more

    General – corporate, associations, motivational
    Inspiring and entertaining, Dave deBronkart presents a wonderful story of overcoming challenges with resourcefulness and optimism. He’s a businessman who partnered with his doctors to overcome Stage IV cancer and has since, amazingly, earned extraordinary medical credentials: he was the Mayo Clinic’s Visiting Professor, was featured in the HealthLeaders cover story “Patient of the Future,” he’s a patient advisor to the editors of the British Medical Journal, and the National Library of Medicine is capturing his blog in its History of Medicine. His work now includes C-level roundtables and board retreats on strategy, as well as conference keynotes.

    An accomplished business communicator before cancer, he’s spoken at hundreds of events in 18 countries, consistently receiving strong ratings. Corporate clients have included public and internal events for companies like Amazon, Dell, PwC, Philips, Aetna, Experian, Pfizer, Siemens, and SAS Institute. He has been recognized internationally as a thought leader in healthcare’s evolution, creating three books in nine languages and a TED Talk with a half million views in 27 languages. 


  • TED Talk with standing ovation 
  • Top spokesman for patient experience, engagement, safety 
  • Mayo Clinic’s 2015 Visiting Professor in Internal medicine 
  • High tech businessman who faced death and survived Stage IV kidney cancer

    Cancer survivor Dave deBronkart, known on the internet as “e-Patient Dave,” is an inspiring, thought-provoking speaker on all aspects of how patients and caregivers can be active contributors in healthcare. Perfect for the era of value-based care, he was an accomplished speaker in his business life before cancer, and tailors each speech to your organization’s culture, your event’s focus and your audience’s interests. Facing imminent death has given him an inspiring and urgent perspective on empowering the ultimate stakeholders – the patient and family.

    Dave’s TED Talk has been translated into 27 languages and was for years in the top half of most-watched TED Talks of all time. His great little book of insights and how-to’s Let Patients Help has been translated into eight languages, with introduction by famed Scripps cardiologist Dr. Eric Topol, author of The Patient Will See You Now, who says it "will unquestionably help many individuals become more active and fully engaged in their health care.” Like Topol, he’s an avid believer in (and user of) e-health tools and apps.

    With nearly 600 events in eighteen countries, Dave’s clients have included dozens of hospital events, health innovation events such as Health 2.0, Connected Health, and Exponential Medicine, corporate clients such as Philips, Aetna, Experian, Pfizer, Dell, Intersystems, and SAS Institute, and academic lectures and seminars at schools such as Mayo, Harvard, Dartmouth, Wharton, and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

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