Partnering with informed patients is a central tenant of the newly released joint 2012 Guidelines For Diagnosis and Management of Patients with Stable Ischemic Disease, as well as SCAI’s consensus update on Ad-Hoc PCI. And new studies about angioplasty and stents are being presented regularly that call for shared decision-making: for example, the OVER study, showing that endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms with stent grafts is equivalent to open surgery, the FREEDOM study discussing the options for multivessel disease in diabetic patients, and FAME 2 for the treatment of stable heart disease with significant ischemia as measured by fractional flow reserve. Patient preference comes into play in all of these.
If the interventional cardiology community is going to succeed in implementing these new guidelines, there needs to be a lot more focus on patient education. Involving patients in treatment decision-making, and successfully implementing optimum medical treatment, require substantive education, effective patient-physician dialogue and patient outreach.
As Bob Harrington told me last week: “We need to educate the public about how to think about topics like probability and risk and how to engage in conversations with their healthcare providers, with their healthcare team.”
Angioplasty.Org has provided information to millions of interventional cardiology patients over the last 16 years, and with over 10,000 posts to our patient community forum, we’ve learned a lot about the kind of information, responsiveness and skills that many CAD patients are, frankly, in dire need of. Building on this knowledge, we’re making available a set of new tools that we hope physicians will utilize as part of a progressive effort to engage patients in their care.
Our newest patient education tool “The Activated Patient Blog“, hosted by Deborah Shaw, our patient education editor, launches today. We hope that physicians will refer patients here for frank discussion on topics like understanding data, using decision aids to help clarify questions and preferences, gaining communications skills, and insights about motivation and disease self-management.
I hope you will follow our new blog and join the conversation about best practices and patient engagement.