July 18, 2016
If your doctor is not good enough at involving you during the course of your disease, there is hope ahead. PROMETHEUS transforms the relationship between doctor and patient.
This is a repost of E-Health: PROMETHEUS og den myndige patient, originally published in Danish and German by Jeppe Pers (Facebook), and submitted to the Europe in My Region 2016 blogging competition.
More and more patients are unhappy with the usual one-way communication and unbalance in the conversation with their doctor. They wish to play a more active role in the treatment of their disease and to be part of making decisions about choice of therapy. And that is exactly what the Interreg project PROMETHEUS does.
Medical science is changing
The health system is in a stage of transition. The demographic pyramid is undergoing massive change and more patients are being treated by fewer doctors. The period of time that a doctor spends per patient is decreasing constantly. And at the same time doctors are seeing a massive increase in the expectations of patients.
For a long time patients have simply accepted what they were presented with at the preliminary examination at the local doctor’s surgery and from the cancer treatment at the nearest hospital. The thought was that “the doctor probably knows best, and that a hospital is a hospital”. But this line of thought is changing. Patients are becoming increasingly conscious of the differences in the equipment of the treatment centres and of the differences in doctors’ level of competence and quality of treatment. Just like consumers compare products and suppliers before they for example buy a car, patients are also beginning to compare doctors and treatment centres. In addition, patients are becoming more mobile and flexible. According to new studies, two thirds of all Europeans will readily receive treatment in another EU country. The competition on the treatment market has begun, and the patients are becoming empowered.
Empowerment of patients
Shared Decision Making, Co-Design, Informed Choice – a long list of buzzwords has emerged when it comes to the empowerment of patients. But many people do not realise what the words actually mean and what effect they have on the patients’ daily lives. This is because the concept of empowering patients is abstract and intangible. But PROMETHEUS wants to change this by actually empowering patients. The question is: What is an empowered patient? An empowered patient has control over the management of his own disease. He has the required knowledge, skills and confidence to change and adapt his behaviour – in collaboration with medical experts – to make the most meaningful choice of treatment for him.
The decisive factor is knowledge. Knowledge about his own situation, body and soul, and knowledge about possible treatments. Therefore, PROMETHEUS is trying to empower the patient at many different levels. The awareness of the patient’s own situation is generated using various types of technology that documents symptoms and makes it easier to communicate these to the doctor. The patient finds out about various treatments and their effects through comprehensible information material, such as interactive video films or adaptive apps. For PROMETHEUS it is important to create personalised information material that is tailored to the individual patient or relative.
In the past, we accepted the doctor’s words right away, but today we have high expectations. We carry out research and differentiate before we decide on the choice of a particular treatment. The control of his own life is important for the modern patient.
Felix Prell, Project Manager at Prometheus – University Medical Centre Schleswig-Holstein
Understandable and adapted information
In order to give the patient the opportunity to empower himself, he needs to have access to all relevant information. All necessary information is actually available online but it is extremely difficult for a layman – and sometimes also for the doctor himself – to distinguish reliable from unreliable content, to determine which information is scientifically correct and which is not, and what the information precisely means. Official information material is of course validated and medically correct, but it is frequently not directly accessible for the patient, or it is outright incomprehensible.
One of the goals of the PROMETHEUS project is to develop various information material and new media which give the patient a real added value. This will be achieved by organising the latest scientific findings in such a way that they are understandable and by using customised texts, visual elements and multi-medial presentations like animations and video films. PROMETHEUS will identify the patient’s current condition and the patient’s desired condition in order to develop solutions that help the patient forward. In order to achieve the best possible result PROMETHESEUS will work closely with both patients and doctors because both patients and doctors need to learn how to work and act as a team.
The lead partner in the PROMETHEUS project is the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH). Project partners are Lillebaelt Hospital, the University of Southern Denmark, the Institute of Regional Health Research and Aarhus University. The key players are supported by the network partners Life Science Nord GmbH, Fachhochschule Kiel, Wirtschaftsförderung und Technologietransfer GmbH Schleswig-Holstein, Selbsthilfebund Blasenkrebs e.V., Fachhochschule Flensburg, Health Innovation Centre of Southern Denmark, Welfare Tech and Region Zealand.