The Talking Cure: moving patients to the center of care

The relationship between patients and doctors is fundamentally changing. Transparency in medical records, patients’ accessibility to health information online, and online social media driving patient-to-patient conversations are some forces at the base of the future of health care.

This, according to a thought-provoking report that addresses the evolving nature of patients vis-à-vis physicians in the National Health Service (NHS) in the U.K. These factors are also driving change in health and health care in the U.S.

The Talking Cure: Why Conversation is the Future of Health Care is an essay published in mid-May 2008 by two smart guys at Demos. As the National Health Service in the U.K. approaches its 60th birthday, the Demos research organization launched The Healthy Conversations project (now known as The Talking Cure) to engage stakeholders in and outside of the NHS in a dialogue of how to move patients to the center of health in the U.K.

One of the benefits of operating (somewhat) globally is the reach that one’s eyes and ears have to health milieus outside of the U.S. A client in the U.K. sent this heads-up along to me, for which I am thankful (you know who you are).

Here is Demos’ rationale for launching the Talking Conversations in health care project:

"We know that the doctor-patient relationship is changing. Sources of health information have multiplied and the GP’s monopoly on knowledge is wobbling. But as we move from paternalism to ‘patient-centered’ how should we think about professionalism and expertise? What are the advantages and challenges of patients and the public playing a more active role in their own health care? As the questions patients ask of their doctors become more complicated, how do conversations with doctors need to change?"

Jane’s Hot Points: Demos calls itself "The Think Tank for Everyday Democracy." That’s exactly the space where the health reform discussion belongs. Everyday, Democracy, 24×7, for all citizens.

Take a look at The Talking Cure. While its stories are informed by the patients and clinicians in the NHS, the implications are enlightening and applicable to the U.S. Putting patients at the center of a health system — what a novel idea!

Trusera, a health-social media start-up, comes out of beta today. It’s a prime example of person-to-person health story-sharing. Trusera’s new tagline is, "Come Experience the Power of Been There." Here is another online community where people are finding empowerment and solutions…another aspect of The Talking Cure journey, the future of health care.

5 replies »

  1. please do you have idea of how to cure or drugs use in curing sickle cell, if u do pls I need aid.

  2. Healthcare needs to be more patient-centric on so many different levels. The Boston-based Kenneth B. Schwartz Center runs a program called The Patient Voice for Compassionate Care: Schwartz Center Dialogues (http://www.theschwartzcenter.org/programs/Patient_initiative.html). Through a series of facilitated conversations, patients and families bring their perspectives directly to their caregivers, with the goal of improving the communication skills of caregivers and the care experience for patients. We need to listen to patients a lot more; programs like this are just the beginning.
    Julie Rosen, Executive Director of the Kenneth B. Schwartz Center

  3. The problem I see is doctors have never been good conversationalists – or listeners. The other blog article about the “frustrations” of doctors does not mesh with patients wanting conversations, nor does the e-doctor concept. How also do you turn antecdotes into clinical fact if there is not enough time for the conversation? As usual America is about volume not quality.

  4. Thank You Jane!
    This is one of the best reports I have read about the medical paradigm shift due to the growing number of informed and fully-engaged patients.
    It is, IMHO, a good complement to the various reports of the Picker Institute and particularly of the work of Angela Coulter.

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