Meet Martine Ehrenclou Author of the Take Charge Patient
Norm Goldman, B.A. LL.L, is the
Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures, which he created in 2002.' Practicing law for over 35 years enabled Norm to transfer and apply to
book reviewing his many skills that he had perfected during his career in
the legal profession and as a result he became a prolific free lance
book reviewer & author interviewer. To read more about Norm Follow Here
Author: Martine Ehrenclou
Publisher: Lemon Green Press, LLC
Today, Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest Martine Ehrenclou author of The Take-Charge Patient: How You Can Get the Best Medical Care.
Good day Martine and thanks for participating in our interview.
It’s nice to talk with you, Norm
Please tell our readers a little bit about your personal and professional background.
I am an award-winning author, patient advocate and speaker. My first book, the Critical Conditions: The Essential Hospital Guide To Get Your Loved One Out Alive received 15 book awards. My newest health book, The Take-Charge Patient empowers readers to become proactive and effective participants in their own health care.
Ironically, six months into my research and over 200 interviews of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, health psychologists and patients for The Take-Charge Patient, I developed debilitating, chronic pain that lasted sixteen months. I used every strategy in my new book. I went from an advocate for others to an advocate for myself, and became my own take-charge patient. After eleven doctors failed to diagnose me correctly, my research led me to the surgeon who diagnosed me and cured me. I am now pain free.
I regularly publish articles on the topics of patient empowerment, patient advocacy, patient safety, the collaborative relationship between patients and medical professionals, successful communication in medical encounters, and other health/medical related issues. I have been interviewed on national TV, radio, newspapers and magazines, including NBC Nightly News, ABC News, KCAL 9 News, MORE Magazine, Woman’s Day, Family Circle, Los Angeles Times Magazine and many more. I lecture at universities, hospitals, and health organizations and libraries, and write a blog and newsletter.
I have a master’s degree in psychology from Pepperdine University. Prior to becoming a health writer and patient advocate, I was a journalist, ghostwriter and public relations professional. I created and ran a writing program for at-risk teenagers. My personal experience with loved ones with extended hospitalizations changed my career path in 2001.
Why is there a need to change our mindsets from being reactive to becoming proactive concerning our health care? As a follow up, whom do you believe will benefit from your book and why?
A passive approach to medical care just doesn’t work anymore. Physicians are seeing too many patients simply to make ends meet. Because insurance reimbursements are dropping every year and expenses to keep medical offices running increases every year, you’ve got a system that isn’t focused on the patient’s needs. It’s time for patients to take charge of what they can which means taking some responsibility for themselves as patients and meeting their medical professionals half way. We can’t change how doctors practice medicine or how the health care system is run but we can change how we approach the two.
Health care has become increasingly complex and specialized. Patients must get organized for their own benefit to maximize their care.
Not the least of which is medication errors harming 1.5 million people a year. This kind of medical error is the easiest to prevent.
In addition, 40-80,000 people are killed by misdiagnoses each year.
The Take-Charge Patient will benefit anyone who is a patient. From patients with serious illnesses and chronic medical conditions, older patients who have multiple medical conditions and medications, parents of ill children, to the run-of-the mill patient who is surprised by expensive medical bills that weren’t anticipated, and for those who simply need to increase the quality of their medical care by creating a collaborative relationship with their physicians.
What motivated your to write The Take-Charge Patient: How You Can Get the Best Medical Care ?
Since my last book, Critical Conditions, was about how to be an effective advocate for a hospitalized loved one, I knew I had to write a book about how to be an advocate for yourself outside of the hospital. I’m a big believer in advocacy and empowering people with information. The more you know, the more empowered you feel.
Why do you think this is an important book at this time and what differentiates your book from others that have been written on the same topic?
The Take-Charge Patient is especially important now because health care has become so complex, confusing and frustrating for many people. You’ve heard the stories from people about lost or incorrect medical records, medical errors, medication mistakes, patients getting stuck with expensive medical bills, or patients without health insurance who simply pay their medical bills without knowing they could negotiate and get it for less, doctors who are not respectful to patients…the list goes on.
Access to good medical care has become harder in some ways for patients and my book shows people how to do it in simple steps. Part of it is that we as patients need to change from passive recipients of care, to proactive, educated and empowered patients who work with their medical professionals. Patients need to be part of the act instead of the part of the audience.
What makes my book different from many others on similar topics is, in my opinion, is its balanced approach to the medical profession. I believe it is fair to physicians and I believe that if you provide insider information about why many doctors do what they do that puts patients’ needs second, and then outline strategies to circumvent those problems, then first empathy or understanding is created and then strategies can be implemented.
If we maintain that doctors are just out for making money and cramming as many patients into a day simply to profit, and they are presented as villains, neither side is going to make much headway. My focus in this book is on what patients and their loved ones can do to facilitate progress, rather than focusing on the negative outcomes of health care or the medical profession. We all know the reality—let’s do something about what we can control!
What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
Letting go of information to be included in the book. I had to cut whole chapters because the book was simply getting too long and with too much information. There was just so much exciting information to offer readers. But I realized that people would not want to read a 500 page book.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
The interviews with physicians and patients were exciting and enlightening. First with physicians, it was riveting to find out what was on the other side of the door. What doctors and other medical professionals told me was eye opening and moving. So many opened up about their professional lives—their passions, their frustrations, their losses, and how they feel about their profession in today’s health care climate.
With patients, I interviewed so many who were so amazingly proactive and had achieved fantastic results. Many of these women saved their own lives simply because they trusted their instincts and were persistent with getting more tests done even after clear mammograms and ultra sounds. When cancer was found, their treatment was implemented early enough to be successful. One woman saw two doctors who dismissed a lump in her chest area. Not a medically savvy person, she went ahead and insisted on a third opinion and refused the “wait and see” approach. When cancer was found, treatment was started so she had a jump start on recovery.
How has the feedback being concerning your book?
Fantastic! I couldn’t be more thrilled. What surprised me most is the interest and reception from physicians. I think they realize that if patients implement the strategies I suggest, that this will benefit them too. My book outlines how patients can meet doctors half way but also how to form a collaborative partnership and that in itself maximizes care and most physicians know that.
But since this book is for patients, it focuses on increasing patient confidence, and knowledge about how to navigate the health care system.
Where can our readers find out more about you and your book?
They can go to my WEBSITE or
and all online wholesalers and in bookstores across the country. I also have a blog at www.martineehrenclou.com
What is next for Martine Ehrenclou?
I am speaking at a number of health conferences over the next year, attending a few as well. I’m continuing to do TV and radio interviews, publish articles and expand my professional patient advocacy consulting. I’m also talking with a doctor about writing a book together on mHealth and Digital health.
Is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered?
If there is one thing that readers take away from this interview it is this: be an active participant in your health care. If you invest in your medical care, your doctor will also invest more in you.
Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.
Thanks so much, Norm! All my best to you as well.