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PATIENT ADVOCATES – The Importance of Collaboration to Improve the Standard of Care

Updated: Mar 18, 2022

In recent years, the medical community has come to acknowledge the value and importance of patient advocates. Many medical organizations are now involved in collaboration to work together to improve patient outcomes. There is so much to be gained when these communities come together and discuss ways to work together to improve the patient experience.

It was a great honor to be invited to the NCBC conference this year as a breast cancer patient advocate. It was an opportunity to learn about new treatment options, new imaging technology, and the latest breast cancer studies and statistics. It was also a chance to connect with leaders who have influence in decision-making processes that affect patient outcomes.

NCBC is the National Consortium of Breast Centers, an interdisciplinary organization committed to the development, maintenance, advancement, and improvement of the highest quality patient-focused Breast Centers. NCBC supports education, certification, and interdisciplinary communication amongst those who they serve, with the goal of improving breast care for all.

This year, in March 2022, patient advocates attended the 31st Annual NCBC Interdisciplinary Breast Center Conference, including The New Pink Paradigm Survivor Summit. It was a privilege to attend this event with a stellar group of advocates who are doing such amazing work. This is a completely new model that is being seen more frequently in the medical community. Quality medical organizations see the tremendous value that patients bring to the table. When medical professionals have a different perspective from the patient side, they are able to gain a better understanding of the needs and concerns that patients have. This patient-centered approach is what will set higher standards for the overall patient experience. Collaboration with patient advocates also helps clinicians to understand the areas where more research is needed and how to communicate more effectively to be sure each patient understands their medical diagnosis and/or treatment options.

Medical conferences and annual meetings are a productive way to bring colleagues together to network and learn from each other. When patient advocates are included in the conversations, there is a more well-rounded approach to learning how to better understand and serve the patient population. When there is patient-centered care, an individual’s specific health needs and desired health outcomes are the driving force behind health care decisions and quality measurements. We expect to see more of this shift toward patient-centered healthcare, as there is mounting evidence of clinical efficacy and patient satisfaction. Our GPAC patient advocates are looking forward to future collaboration.

~Robyn Towt

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