Reaching New Audiences: Going “Viral”

Elliot Krane

Elliot Krane sees children suffering from chronic pain everyday at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH) in California. Sometimes these children have traveled from as far away as Virginia and Hawaii. Families travel this far because too many doctors don’t know the best ways to treat these children who suffer from a variety of chronic and often mysterious conditions, like Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

Unfortunately, even doctors who do know how to treat these conditions aren’t properly reimbursed by public or private insurance. They must be able to convene the multidisciplinary teams that are required to treat these children, and most hospitals aren’t able to support these efforts like LPCH.

Ultimately, Elliot would like to see insurers reimburse for these team-based treatment plans, and rethink which treatments they will reimburse. To do this, Elliot needs to both reach out to policymakers, and raise awareness more broadly that these chronic pain conditions are diseases in their own right that require treatment by a whole medical team – from specialists to physical therapists to psychologists.

To raise awareness of the complexity of treating pain conditions, Elliot seized the opportunity to apply to be a speaker at the prestigious TED Conference. Every year, leaders from all sectors of public life come together for five days of short talks on various topics. Participants are invited to submit ideas for TED Talks, and Elliot’s topic, “Pain as a Disease,” was selected for the conference in Long Beach, California. The video below was the result of weeks of practice leading up to his TED talk.

When Elliot’s video was released to the public, it received extensive media coverage, including:

Beyond receiving attention from the media, Elliot reached other patients around the country who suffer from chronic pain. Within two weeks he had received calls and emails from more than 100 patients who face the challenges that he described in his talk.

You can see more about how children with chronic pain conditions are treated by watching the video below, made by one of Elliot’s patients.


Elliot J. Krane, MD, is a 2010-11 Mayday fellow and is a Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at the Stanford University Medical Center and of Pediatrics at The Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital

23 March 2016