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Embracing shared decision making in medicine will improve patient outcomes, reduce costs, increase health equity, and even help alleviate clinician burnout, Danny Sands, MD, co-founder of the Society for Participatory Medicine, said in a recent podcast interview.

Erin Moriarty Wade, communications and patient advocacy manager at myTomorrows, interviewed Sands for her company’s podcast, Shared Experiences in Oncology & Rare Diseases. Wade, an active patient advocate and SPM member herself, is the mother of a child with a rare disease. myTomorrows helps patients and physicians find and access clinical trials and expanded access programs.

“We want healthcare to be thought of more as a collaboration between the healthcare professional and the patient,” Sands told Wade, “where the topic of that collaboration is the patient’s health.”

Sands discussed SPM’s new Creative Learning Exchange series, which kicks off October 20 at the Whittier Street Health Center in Boston. The live events, which will be held in cities around the US, with virtual access available, are intended to delve into complex challenges such as racism in healthcare, and end of life care. The Exchanges are structured to ensure full participation by all attendees, be they clinicians, technologists, patients or caregivers.

“When you look at the way we’ve done things at the Society, it’s all out mutuality,” Sands said, describing that when patients reach out to initiate collaboration with physicians, “it’s music to my ears” and to many other physicians.

Sands noted that the concept of shared decision making should be multi-directional, and not just patients or caregivers initiating discussions with clinicians. For physicians, encouraging participatory medicine can help reduce burnout, and even re-energize the practice of medicine.

“I argue that if we embrace these (shared decision making) principles. . .I feel very strongly that it increases the joy of practice, and is one of the antidotes for burnout in healthcare.”

Listen to the podcast interview here.

John Novack is a healthcare communications consultant who volunteers for the Society for Participatory Medicine and a number of other health-focused organizations, including Health Story Collaborative, AnCan, Journal of Health Design, and Collaboration for Outcomes using Social Media in Oncology (COSMO).

 Do you want to attend the Society for Participatory Medicine’s Oct. 20 Creative Learning Exchange, either in person or online? Click here to learn more. 


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