What benefits can patients and care providers see from empowering patients? Expert Dr. Kami Maddocks from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center explains benefits that she’s seen in her patients and ways that she helps encourage deepening of their knowledge and capacity for informed treatment decisions.
Dr. Kami Maddocks:
I think empowering patients is so critical, because I think when they understand their disease better, the treatment options, or why they’re not receiving treatment and kind of what their journey could look like, that they overall do much better. I think when a patient comes in, I like to give them my explanation of their disease, make sure that I am answering all of their questions, information. Some patients have read a lot before they come in and some have not read a lot. I like to provide them with websites or areas of information that I know is accurate and up-to-date information and encourage them once they read that to give us a call.
We also provide them some written information and I have a 24-hour line. And I always encourage patients, I don’t know whether you’re getting treatment and having a side effect, whether you’re at home worrying about a symptom, whether you have a question about what’s going on, I don’t know that you’re worried unless you let me know.
So I like to encourage patients, if you have questions, concerns, please reach out. We also have a portal where patients can ask non-urgent questions if they’d rather have it in writing, but I think making sure that they know we’re here to help them. I think offering information on clinical trials, I encourage patients if they have questions or concerns on the information they’re provided that they think about second opinions.
And patients that I see for second opinions I like them to know that you’re getting great treatment locally or this treatment is something that you don’t have to drive here for if you need treatment. But I’m always available if there’s other concerns or something doesn’t seem right. So I think making sure that patients’ questions are answered. I think making sure that they are comfortable getting other opinions if they need to and making sure that they know that if they have concerns they should reach out and not worry or use Google but use us to help them.