Journal of Participatory Medicine

June 10, 2009

I’ve long been interested in medical self-care. The idea of patients taking responsibility of their own health and healing seems to me to be essential in the long run. Quantified Self was started in part to collect a certain kind of tool that (among other reasons) might give you data which could be used to maintain or improve your health. Data measurement is only one way to improve your health, and it should certainly not be the only way. The main thing is that health is your job, and doctors and hospitals are your assistants and advisors, but to live this way requires a lot of education, skills, and support. 

I’m not the only person to head in this direction and for the past three decades a large number of dedicated doctors, public health agents, self-care journalists, and patient activists have been working on all kinds of ways to increase the role of informed patients. The newest channel in this effort is the launch of a peer-reviewed science journal dedicated to research in the field of “participatory medicine” — as in patient participant. (Sometimes labeled Health 2.0) There is a great overlap with self-tracking and  the quantified self (although by no means is all self-tracking health related), so I think this new journal will appeal to self-trackers and self-trackers to the patient-participant field.


This journal, called sensibly enough, the Journal of Participatory Medicine, will use an open source model (no fee to get the articles)  which is both very much in the spirit of the paradigm, but also very future-proof (free is where all journals are headed).  I serve on the Advisory Board of this publication (other advisors are Adam Bosworth, Esther Dyson, David Kibbe, MD, Howard Rheingold, Eric von Hippel, PhD, Peter Yellowlees, MD).

The short FAQ below is intended to help solicit papers for the first issue of this journal. If you are a self-tracker with interesting results or have some research about self-tracking that you think would benefit others you might consider publishing it in this journal. In addition to straight up scholarly articles, they also publish news bits, book reviews, “narratives”, and the usual journal mix of related material.

Send email to Charles W. Smith, MD Jessie Gruman, PhD, to: (there is no website at present). Mention Quantified Self.

1. What is the purpose of the Journal of Participatory Medicine (JPM)?

The Journal will bring together the best available evidence and examples of participatory medicine to:

*  Make a robust case for its value to people – sick or well -, advocates, and health professionals

*  Serve as a meeting place and rallying point for those at the leading edge of participatory medicine

*  Engage, inform and include those who have been involved in, or practicing, participatory medicine. We aim to advance both the science and practice.

The mission of the Journal is to transform the culture of medicine to be more participatory. And we believe that doing so, as the saying goes, will take a village – perhaps even a large metropolitan area! JPM constitutes a major investment of time and talent in community development.

2. What processes will we use to publish JPM?

JPM will be a peer reviewed journal published exclusively in an online journal format, using Open Journal Systems, an open source journal management and publishing system developed by the Public Knowledge Project — a nonprofit partnership between The University of British Columbia University, Simon Fraser University and Stanford University. We don’t anticipate charging a subscription fee for access to the Journal and it will be freely available to the public.

3. What will constitute the content of JPM?

Our plan is to begin publication of the Journal this fall with six types of articles. We anticipate additional content categories once we have established review criteria and procedures are running smoothly. The first issue will include one or more items from each of these six content types:

1. Research Articles. Papers describing randomized trials and quasi-experimental design studies that test hypotheses about the prevalence and impact of participatory medicine and interventions to facilitate it

2. Editorials. Commentary on the role of participatory medicine in the larger health landscape; overarching observations about secular trends, politics, policy and practice relevant to participatory medicine

3. Narratives. Videos, podcasts, and essays that showcase patients and providers and demonstrate examples of participatory medicine in action

4. Case Reports. Structured accounts illustrating individuals’ (patients and professionals) experiences with participatory medicine

5. Reviews. Critical summaries of scientific literature from adjacent fields and disciplines, and of products, web sites, and events

6. Media & Journal Watch. Brief commentaries on (and links to) recently published journal articles, blog posts, and news reports

Editorial Board Members

Mohammad Al-Ubaydli, MD, Patients Know Best (PHRs)

Jack Barrette, WEGO Health

Mike Battaglia, Health care consultant; formerly Intuit and Humana

Jeffrey Bland, PhD, Metagenics and The Institute for Functional Medicine

Kate Christensen, MD, Kaiser Permanente

Susan Edgman-Levitan, PA, Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation, MGH

Ted Eytan, MD, MPH, Permanente Federation

Patty Feist, Pediatric Oncology Resource Center

Rushika Fernandoupulle, MD, MPP, Renaissance Health

Peter Frishauf, Crossix Solutions, Medpage Today, Omnimedix Institute

Gilles Frydman, ACOR

Alan Greene, MD,, Standford Univ.

Sarah Greene, Keas Inc.

Dan Hoch, MD, MGH & Harvard Medical School;

Alejandro Jadad, MD, Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, Univ. Toronto

Greg Juhn, A.D.A.M. Inc.

Gary Kreps, PhD, Health Communications, George Mason University

Joseph Kvedar, MD, Center for Connected Health, Partners HealthCare, Harvard Medical School

David Lansky, PhD, Pacific Business Group on Health

Jon Lebkowksy, Social Web Stragegies; Weblogksy blog

Kate Lorig, RN, DRPH, Stanford Univ. School of Medicine and Stanford Patient Education Research Center

Amy Marcus, Wall Street Journal

Faith McLellan, PhD, World Health Organization

Carol Peckham, Medscape

Carlos Rizo, MD, Health Strategy Innovation Cell and eHealth in Motion

David Rosenthal, MD, Brigham & Womens Hospital (Resident)

Andrew Schorr, Patient Power radio program and webcasts

Josh Seidman, PhD, Information Therapy

Clay Shirky, Interactive Telecommunications, New York University

Amy Tenderich,

Trisha Torrey, DiagKNOWsis,,

Roni Zeiger, MD, Google Health

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