Happy Patient, Happy Doctor – The Importance of Listening to What Really Matters to Patients
Posted bySusanne Farwer, Immunology BII
We all are here to make a positive difference to the lives of our patients. Our vision is to empower psoriasis patients to overcome physical and psychosocial barriers which will allow them to achieve their goals and live life to the full.
In order to accomplish our vision, it is critical to profoundly understand what really matters to patients when it comes to disease management and treatment expectations. Therapy goals of patients and clinicians do not always align and the definition of ‘success’ for both parties often varies.
As the patient is at the centre of everything we do, we need to stop making assumptions and start listening to what matters most to those sitting right in front of us and experiencing the disease first-hand.
We need to actively integrate the patient perspective into the treatment decision-making process. Understanding treatment preferences in patients is fundamental and will lead to treatment satisfaction, improved adherence and better long-term outcomes.
Taking the journey together is fundamental in terms of effective chronic long-term disease management and addressing the disparity of patients’ expectations versus clinicians’ expectations is key in this dialogue.
A recent survey revealed that some patients have reported itch to be most troublesome, while dermatologists reported the anatomical location and size of the skin lesions as paramount. Misalignment in terms of treatment goals also was reported in 67.9% of patient–physician pairs surveyed in a Japanese study which examined skin clearance as a goal indicator.
A possible explanation for the discrepancy between patients and physicians regarding the impact of symptoms is due to the objective approach applied to determine disease severity by the physician versus the subjective way by which patients experience and track their symptoms.
It’s high time to think and act differently. This starts with re-thinking and challenging the current disease severity classifications which often times deny patients appropriate therapy despite the tremendous impact of the condition on quality of life.
And it continues with seeking and maintaining an active dialogue with those affected by the condition and letting them navigate the discussion as to what matters most in their treatment journey. This will ultimately lead to happy patients and happy doctors.