The Lynx Group

Patient-Centric Cancer Care

July 2015, Vol 6, No 6
Rick Lee
Executive Chairman, Healthy Platforms and CancerLife, Philadelphia, PA

Rising to a level of equal status with cancer providers is a tall order for patients with cancer, yet it is precisely the intent of the Meaningful Use Stage 3 proposed standards that are set to take effect in 2018 (ie, patient-reported outcomes), as well as the value-based care initiatives. Providers need to drop their resistance and contemplate the following benefits of patient centricity:

  1. There is no cancer treatment without patients with cancer. Without us, you are simply unemployed physicians.
  2. Were we to play a more active role in our own fight with cancer, we would likely make decisions that would be beneficial to our health and long-term survival. Being at the center of discussions, as opposed to off stage, heightens involvement.
  3. Many cancer treatment decisions are based on a patient preference, including benign prostate cancer, mastectomy versus lumpectomy, or end-of-life chemotherapy.
  4. “What would you do, Doc, if you were in my shoes?” is not a patient-centric question.
  5. Complementary medicine represents a route that some patients with cancer prefer. A patient-centric response is often different from a medical response. However, data on the placebo effect suggest that a supportive endorsement of complementary medicine may yield as good, if not better, outcomes.
  6. When an engaged patient involves a village of supporters, results are often improved. Those supporters are consciously applauded by some providers and resisted by others as a meddlesome bother. A village is a key component in a patient-centric approach.
  7. Access to advice telephonically or through e-mail is more cost-efficient than going to the emergency department and waiting to see the physician. The cost-efficient option is patient-centric, and the costlier option is physician-centric. In a high-deductible world, where patients with cancer absorb considerable burdens on their family’s wealth, being patient-centric is also compassionate.
So, let’s get on the patient-centric bandwagon and demonstrate our commitment to value-based cancer care.

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