‘Patient Advisors’ Implemented to Inform Patients of Medical Decisions
According to an article published in American Medical News journal, $36.1 million of a $1 billion grant is being used to develop joint decision making between doctors and patients. The money will go toward hiring and training medical professionals to act as advisors for patients who must make health decisions relating to diabetes, hip, knee, and spinal surgery, and congenital heart failure.
The shared initiative is called the High Value Health Care Collaborative (HVHCC) and is made up of 15 health organizations, including Mayo Clinic, Scott & White Healthcare, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. HVHCC is led by scholars from Dartmouth College and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health System. Shared decision making will include counseling from a “patient advisor,” who will be responsible for helping patients understand the risks, costs, purpose, and benefits of a procedure. William Weeks, MD, medical director of the HVHCC, believes that shared decision making will result in better informed patients, which will ultimately cut down on the cost of unnecessary procedures.
The idea of implementing patient advisors comes from the tradition of one-on-one conversations between a doctor and patient, a less formal way of sharing information. HVHCC reported that there would be approximately 48 patient advisors hired over the next three years to work with patients and their families. The current approach to informing patients includes educational videos and online material, aids that are sold to health plans, hospitals, and physician practices. HVHCC hopes to find a way to incorporate the system of patient advisors into smaller practices as well as hospital settings.
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