An historic opportunity for patient partnership

Who would have imagined that the day would come when a candidate for president of the Canadian Medical Association would proclaim in his platform, that patients need to be partners at the table to co-design the future of healthcare?

Dr. Sandy Buchman walks the talk. I’m privileged to be the patient and public representative on his campaign committee. Win or lose he lives by his principles and as a palliative care physician serving the homeless he demonstrates this everyday. Today, he presents patients with an historic opportunity to enter into a new relationship with health care professionals. Whether as individuals or as advocacy groups, the concept of partnering WITH patients has now reached a new level. While its true that patients do not vote in the CMA election, patients can have influence by bringing this to the attention of their physician carers or colleagues.

This is not about the therapeutic relationship. Its about policy that will influence the delivery of care for generations. Patients and physicians have shared interests. All stakeholders in health care need to collaborate to ensure that we have a sustainable and compassionate health care system.Dr. Sandy Buchman is breaking new ground by including a role for patients [...] continue the story

The Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis: Emotions

By Kathy Kastner with Zal Press First, you grieve A diagnosis of Type2 Diabetes means the end of life as you’ve lived it. Adding to the shock is the perception: Type2 is the ‘bad’ diabetes. The one you’ve brought on yourself by your overindulgent lifestyle. Type1 is seen as the ‘good’ diabetes: beyond your control.

Rarely is this the case: Type2 Diabetes is most often ‘written in the genes’, thus confounding even the most diligent of health efforts.

Lori became an advocate as a result of seeing the impact of this condition on her father and nephew, which evolved into her becoming a resource and Opinion Leader.

With a Type2 diagnosis, going through the stages of grief is not uncommon: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and eventually – hopefully – choosing to accept. Anger and denial Even for those in ethnicities at high risk of T2, acceptance of a diagnosis can be devastating. Heather is a nurse and Opinion Leader who, on a whim – and well into her career – decided to test herself: Being as she was in the hospital on the Diabetes unit. That was in 1989.

Aida (who gives an infectious giggle as she explains,’ it’s pronounced like the Opera’) is slim and fit and is [...] continue the story

My uterus gets no respect: the UF movement gathers steam

By Holly Bridges and Zal Press

In the second gathering of Canadian women who suffer from uterine fibroid tumours, patients and physicians alike rolled up their sleeves to share and learn how this group is beginning to influence better health outcomes and improved quality of life for the one in four Canadian women suffering from this condition.

The day was recorded on video and graphic illustrations that captured the emotions and intensity of the day.

The UF Collaborative Forum in Toronto was the first time that women and gynecologists came together to share their different perspectives on the gaps in health care that often leave women to bleed with limited choices of treatment. This groundbreaking event began the vital conversation between healthcare professionals and patients with the goal to establish a unique collaboration that tackles the critical issues affecting treatment and care.

The women who attended represented all stages of the uterine fibroid fight, including those facing surgery, those on the brink of emotional and physical collapse from years of suffering from painful and often uncontrollable bleeding, and those who have emerged victorious and symptom-free after hysterectomy or other treatments.

In our original series of stories Patient Commando highlighted the many gaps in the treatment [...] continue the story

It’s Time to Put the Patient in Queen’s Park

By: Zal Press and Dawn Richards

September 28, 2014

As dedicated patient experts we welcome Ontario Premier Wynne’s Mandate Letter to Health Minister Eric Hoskins. We are encouraged that in an interview with the Globe and Mail (Kelly Grant, July 11, 2014) Minister Hoskins committed himself to “improving the patient experience” and the Mandate letter leads with a priority to “Putting Patients at the Centre”.

In our many patient roles, we’ve heard the platitudes of “patient-centred care” and “patient experience” bandied about like badminton birdies that can fall to the ground with nary a concern and then replayed with the same casual whimsy.

Will this time be different? We’d like to give Minister Hoskins the benefit of the doubt and support his intent with a vision that embraces the opportunity that a focus on patient experience provides.

We start by providing a common understanding of the “patient experience.” The Beryl Institute, a global community of practice and premier thought leaders on improving the patient experience in healthcare, defines patient experience as: “the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care.“ This definition tells us that patient experience is more than just satisfied patients. Satisfaction is the result [...] continue the story

Canadian Women Changing Healthcare

I happened to catch an episode of the CNN series “The Sixties” which featured the rise of the feminist movement. It caught my immediate attention as we here at Patient Commando were hard at work preparing our 2nd Annual Canadian Women Changing Healthcare. It had escaped my memory that in my lifetime there was a time when there were quotas on the spaces available to women  in medical, dental and law schools. There was a time when airline stewardesses had to be single, with soft hands and were forced to retire at the age of 32. There was a time in my lifetime that women marched in the streets fighting for equality and recognition. The episode reminded me of  many women who led the way – like journalist Gloria Steinem who infiltrated Hugh Hefner’s Playboy empire, Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown (Sex and The Single Girl), author Betty Friedan (The Feminine  Mystique) and the National Organization of Women (NOW) who played such important roles in galvanizing what turned into a global movement.

I couldn’t help but think of the many parallels between that time and certain realities that exist in our healthcare system. As Patient Commando and others have pointed out before, 78% [...] continue the story