Patients' Choices

Patients' Choices

Sunday 6th October 2019

Day Two Part Two- Patient choice seemed to be something that kept coming up (and I’m glad of it). The advancements in MIS are creating more choices, but the barriers I heard about when discussing MIS are alarming.

For me, it has to be up to for the individual to choose the most suitable treatment option for them. Whether that be open heart surgery or MIS - each person’s unique experiences and situation has to be at the centre of that choice.

I spoke to Joe Zacahrias Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust about patient choices and quality of life after treatment. Access seems to be a key barrier in regard to patient choice, but also knowledge too. Joe stressed that patients need to understand the range of choices and locations available to them in order to make the most informed decision. I did wonder that might mean going to a different hospital to get the surgery they want, that is an option!!

Joe and I discussed the range of treatment options as well as the nuances of experience - which we should be guiding patient choice. Joe stressed annoyance about the distance issue - something I have heard before. It is great that someone can be referred to a different hospital in order to get the treatment they prefer, however the impracticality of it for them and their family is a huge barrier.

Another interesting discussion point in regards to choice was relating to information. In the internet age, how do we make sure people are getting the right information when there is so much misleading information available online. This seems to be where charities like Heart Valve Voice and others come in. In harnessing our voices they are trying to generate educational material and get them to as many people as possible.

I suppose ultimately though, for me, it is up to the patients what, where and how they are treated and up to clinicians and charities like Heart Valve Voice to make sure they are getting the right information to inform said decision.

My experience and voice will help this, as well as that of many others. I’ve already seen with Heart Valve Voice how they can use experience to produce educational materials constructed to inform patient choice. I’m enthused by the increasing ability for patients to make informed decisions on their surgery. I think ultimately, we understand what treatment option we need to best suit our lives.

Joe Zacharias talking about access to MIS options at EACTS 2019

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