2 posts tagged “understanding treatments”

Defining “good” health care: 2 new studies reveal patient perspectives

Posted March 28th, 2018 by

Do you feel you’re getting the best possible care from your doctor? In two recent studies, PatientsLikeMe members answered this question and shared their perspectives on the health care they’re receiving. The results show that while patient opinions about care and provider performance vary according to condition, diverse patient groups agree on the top factors that define “good” care. Here’s the full scoop…

Poll results: Good care is harder to get for some conditions

Last month, 2,559 PatientsLikeMe members took part in a 6-question poll about doctor-patient relationship and what it means to get “good care.”

The results suggest that patients with certain conditions, especially those living with fibromyalgia, PTSD and MDD, are less satisfied with their care.

The poll also found that patients with these conditions are less likely to:

  • Believe their provider has fully explained treatment options. Just 47% of fibromyalgia and PTSD patients and 53% of MDD patients agree their provider has done so, compared to 63% of patients living with ALS, MS and Parkinson’s disease.

  • Report that they are receiving the best possible health care for their condition. Only 40% of fibromyalgia patients, 49% of PTSD patients and 45% of MDD patients believe they are receiving the best possible care, vs. 66% of ALS patients, 61% of MS patients, and 57% of Parkinson’s disease patients.

  • Change providers even though they think they are not receiving the best care or effective treatment. More than half of these patients (53% of PTSD and 56% of MDD and fibromyalgia patients) have stayed with a provider in this situation vs. just 31% of ALS patients and 36% of MS and Parkinson’s patients.
Why is this the case?

“A positive or negative experience with care could be provider-related, but also related to the fact that patients living with ALS, MS and Parkinson’s often have access to condition-specific specialists or centers of excellence while those living with other conditions do not,” said Sally Okun, PatientsLikeMe’s VP of Policy and Ethics. “This makes it even more important that patients advocate on their own behalf to ensure all avenues to get good care are being used.”

See the full poll results at news.patientslikeme.com.

The patient definition of “good care”

Prior to the poll, more than 200 people (including PatientsLikeMe members, clinicians, researchers and more) shared how they define good health care and what matters most to them, from taking an active role in their care to accessibility and cost. PatientsLikeMe researcher Emil says, “Now more than ever we need to pay attention to that patient role.” In this video, he breaks down the key study takeaways:

 

Are you getting the best possible care? 10 Ways to tell

Based on what the study uncovered, we turned the 10 major factors that define good health care into a check list. Speaking about the poll and the survey, Sally Okun says, “These complementary studies give a snapshot of what is most important to patients, and give patients the tools to find providers willing to meet the characteristics of good care.”

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Treat Us Right: Comparing our Community to the General Population

Posted December 14th, 2010 by

Our recent series entitled Share and Compare focused on how patients like you can better answer the question, “How do I put my experience in context?” The answer, in part, comes from how much information you share to help create that context of real-world patient experiences.  Think of it this way – with every piece of information you share, you are contributing directly to research.

When we’re conducting research, one of the things we look at is how similar or different you are to the populations at large.  We even have minimum criteria for a person’s data to be usable.  For example, if you indicate whether you’re male or female, you make it that much easier in determining how you “fit in.”  That one piece of information helps us know if our population is in fact representative of a disease, or whether we’re only getting one specific type of patient (e.g., males with fibromyalgia who don’t have much pain).  If we do get more of one type of patient, it becomes more difficult to draw any conclusions from that population and apply them to the general public.

So, you may be wondering why we need to compare to the published literature/general public?  Why can’t we just say that our conclusions apply to our users and leave it at that? The answer to this question has many parts:

  1. We have the ability to positively impact everyone with disease, not just our current members.  Ideally, we will apply knowledge gained through research in our communities to all people living with diseases.
  2. From a research perspective, we have to know our biases, and how to correct for them if possible. For example, we tend to have more women than men in our populations.  By knowing that, we can “correct” for it in our analyses by making sure our proportions are correct when we look at a sample of users.
  3. We can know how our discoveries fit in with other information known about a disease.  For example, let’s say we figure out that patients who have had fibromyalgia for 15+ years improve their quality of life by doing Treatment X.  If we don’t know how many patients have had fibromyalgia for 15 years or how many do Treatment X and don’t improve, the discovery loses some of its power from lack of context.  Perhaps it isn’t a discovery at all!  However, if we have data from our community to answer those questions and can compare it to published literature, we can trust more in our discoveries.

Here’s a great example of what can happen with the data you share.  Recently, we evaluated our fibromyalgia community characteristics with the Demographics Survey sent out early in 2010.  For some of our communities, the survey had fantastic results.  We are now able to declare with confidence that our community very closely matches the fibromyalgia community at large (Table 1).

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By maintaining your profiles and keeping accurate records of side effects, medications, background information, and outcomes (such as quality of life), you are participating in groundbreaking research that is already yielding fantastic results. Our research team has presented at prestigious conferences and written dozens of abstracts and papers. Working together, PatientsLikeMe has discovered new symptoms and compared treatment efficacy; we are also working towards creating an accurate picture of how medications work in the real world so you get the right treatment for you. This is just beginning.

PatientsLikeMe member cbrownstein