Noting that newer approaches to cancer treatment such as personalized therapy are a stride towards a patient-centric approach to cancer treatment, doctors gathered at the Patient Centricity Summit, organized by the health awareness institution Integrated Health & Wellbeing (IHW) Council, powered by AstraZeneca, emphasized that empowering and starting dialogues with patients will go a long way.
“Medical world is a well-designed, evidence-based world as the results are derived from large, controlled trials. But the reality is different – each patient is different. Personalized therapy helps us to address these differences,” says Dr T Raja, Director of Medical Oncology, Apollo Hospitals, Chennai.
“Oncologists are mostly holistic in their approach but understanding the needs of the patients and their families and being aware of the resources available to them are important. But many times, patients are unable to find their needs or are unable to accept the reality. Besides, medico-legal problems have contaminated the doctor-patient relationship – many young doctors resort to defensive medicine. The other problem is the way knowledge from the internet is used – India must use powerful tools like WhatsApp to spread awareness,” says Dr (Col.) R Ranga Rao, Chairman, Paras Cancer Centre, Paras Hospital, Gurgaon.
Dr B Rakesh Reddy, Chief of Medical Oncology, Mahatma Gandhi Cancer Hospital & Research Institute, Visakhapatnam, says, “We cannot do away with the internet culture so it is better to start a dialogue with the patients and dispel the myths they have acquired from the internet. Also, we need more data specific to low- and -medium-income countries which can reduce out-of-pocket expenditure.”
“Cancer is a lifestyle disease and empowering the patients can help stop the disease, diagnose at the right time, and reduce the cost of treatment to a great extent. Patients are more likely to continue treatment if costs are low and industry has a role to play in it. Hosting masterclass for general physicians on how to handle cancer will also help,” says Dr Minish Jain, Director, Medical Oncology, Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune.
“A comprehensive cancer patient support care is needed for each institute. It is important to leverage emerging technologies and the expertise of specialists using digital platforms to empower patients,” says Dr Anil Kukreja, Vice President – Medical Affairs & Regulatory AstraZeneca Pharma India.
“Getting right care can be a time-intensive and debilitating experience for cancer patients. Patient centricity is the benchmark of healthcare delivery facilities that shows a respectful and responsive approach to attend patients,” says Dr Nalini Kaushik, Principal Consultant, Policy Advocacy & Government Affairs, RAPID, IHW Council.