Being a patient can feel deeply vulnerable. A doctor who respects you as an equal partner can make all the difference when facing a health question or crisis. For Doctor’s Day, which is March 30, we asked three medical doctors who work for biotech leader CSL about the state of the doctor-patient relationship.
Of course, patients and doctors have had both negative and positive experiences trying to forge these important relationships. But these three physicians offer reasons to be hopeful. They say technology, patient activism and a shifting culture are guiding us toward a more collaborative future.
Dr. Sonya Abraham, Senior Director for Translational and Global Clinical Development: There is a coming together of co-working in health improvement where previously there was very much a paternalistic/maternalistic approach. Doctors were traditionally diagnosticians and gatekeepers to access therapies.
Technology and artificial intelligence (AI) have changed a doctor’s role to be an advocate, advisor and coach for the patient, who is now the consumer of health care. It is all positive and will help patients, particularly those with rare diseases to potentially get a faster diagnosis and access to therapy.
Dr. Greg Kato, Global Product Lead, Hematology Therapeutic Area: There is a more prevalent expectation to educate the patient about their disease and the options for treatment. When patients feel more ownership of their treatment, they buy in better and stick to the treatment more closely.
Doctors should trust patients to obtain more detail about their disease and treatment options and to advocate for themselves. Patients should trust their physicians not to feel threatened by the patient advocating for themselves.
Two-way communication should facilitate a more solid partnership. These discussions are time-consuming and challenging to hold in today's fast-paced office schedule in which payers treat medical care and relationships as commodities.
Dr. Frank J. Pikul, CSL Plasma, Center Medical Director: I feel doctor-patient interactions are better because of technology. Technology has brought more results, better and faster than ever before. Rarely do you wait more than a few days for answers and thus treatment begins quicker. Looking ahead, the field of medicine is moving ever quicker into genomics and individualized therapies based on genetic profiles.