Many of us that have been writing in medicine for a significant amount of time (20 years--gasp) have discovered topics or themes that have resonated and perhaps become part of our DNA. My early writing in HIV/AIDs and infectious disease launched my persistent awareness of the patient perspective and what is at stake when faced with debilitating illness with few treatment options. Fast forward and a death sentence has now become chronic disease management as many HIV+ patients are now joining the aging population as we contemplate our own value and how to effectively navigate the healthcare ecosystem.
The solution by many is to push the responsibility for accuracy and unbiased information onto the healthcare providers. It seems to me the clinician now has to counter all oppositions or resistance to diagnostics or taking medication but collectively we all shrug our shoulders at the alarming cost to our healthcare system. I heard an alarming statistic the other day. If we improved patient adherence the cost saving to the healthcare system would be the equivalent of launching a blockbuster drug every year. The Upshot in the New York Times wrote a compelling story about patient perspectives on the risk of prescribed treatments.
Doctors also aren’t always good at communicating risks. A 2013 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that fewer than 10 percent of patients were told about overdiagnosis and overtreatment associated with cancer screening, even though 80 percent of patients wanted to know about harms.
There is a groundswell of interest emerging in improving adherence, patient centricity, creating and identifying value, and understanding healthcare policy and governance.
I suggest you pick a parade and get in front. Develop content that matters and informs.