- true peers -- a community of people who truly understand much of what I've been through;
- fighters -- people who have been equally unwilling to settle for what the healthcare system had offered to or prescribed for them;
- teachers -- people wanting to educate others via sharing their stories and advice;
- change agents -- people committed to preventing others from having terrible medical experiences.
"My cynicism is predictable, but I’ve always said that these conferences and their self-selecting, charged-up evangelists are buying the illusion that patient empowerment is increasing when it’s really not. Few examples exist where customers have convinced big businesses to change their ways, especially when those changes threaten their profits, and I can’t think of even one where it happened when those customers had little buying power discretion and in fact aren’t even paying with their own money. It’s going to take a lot more than some feel-good conferences attended by the same familiar faces and featuring demos of the latest cool app to change healthcare, if in fact it can be changed at all."