After a harrowing near-death experience, Duke physician Neil Spector is using his story to help patients become better advocates for their health.
As hospitals reorient themselves toward value and a more consumer-based approach to care, patients will play a crucial role. Encouraging them and their families to become active participants in decision-making about everything from facility design to their own treatment options can boost clinical outcomes, reduce costs and improve patient satisfaction, according to a recent report by the Health Research & Educational Trust.
Cancer patients who received support from a nurse navigator or advocate soon after being diagnosed had better experiences and fewer problems with their care, particularly in the areas of health information, care coordination and psychological and social care, according to a study from the Group Health Research Institute.
At Mount Sinai Hospital, we implemented a Patient Navigator Program in our inpatient general internal medicine service as a means to help improve patient care.
Some people bristle at descriptions of patients as “consumers,” as if patients want to be in a hospital. Physicians need to be trained to be more empathetic and do a better job of reading and responding to their patients’ emotional cues. These were just a couple of the insights exchanged among a panel of patient advocates and audience members talking about the quality of interactions between providers and patients and how to improve them.