For six years our friend and colleague Tom Ferguson sent a steady stream of emails, PowerPoint slides, and links to news articles, widening our view of the internet to include its possibilities, not just its current realities. He died in April 2006, but in the spirit of Tom’s updates, a group of “e-patient scholars” finished the book he had been working on and launched the blog he had planned.

Lee Rainie & I wrote the foreword to the book, including the following lines:

“Tom and his colleagues suggest that this massive, complex, unplanned, unprecedented, and spontaneous medical empowerment of our lay citizens may turn out to be the most important medical transformation of our lifetimes. The world of the e-patient as they portray it is not a dry, impersonal realm of facts and data, but a living, breathing interactive world in which growing numbers of our fellow-citizens—both patients and professionals—interact in highly personal and fully human ways.

Tom and his colleagues have done us all a further service by combining their detailed and compelling portrait of the emerging e-patient phenomenon with an unusually original and creative set of tentative suggestions for leveraging the most promising developments from the e-patient experience in the most suitable, sustainable, and productive ways.”

To download a copy of the book, “E-patients: How they can help us heal health care,” please visit the blog: