News » GW Researcher Calls for Empowering Patients with the Right Kind of Knowledge

GW Researcher Calls for Empowering Patients with the Right Kind of Knowledge

Patients have greater access to medical information than ever before, including physician ratings, which are used to make health decisions. This has increased the need for information that is accurate and given in context. Patients not only need information, but quality information. 

William Borden, MD, associate professor of medicine and health policy at the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences, published commentary in the journal JAMA Cardiology included with a study looking at the public reporting of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) outcomes. The study found that reporting of PCI outcomes were largely irrelevant and inaccessible to patients. It also did not impact physician decision making, failing in its main objectives. However, Borden believes PCI outcome reports, as well as other medical information, can be improved by focusing on the decisions patients make as a result of the data being provided.
  
“Perhaps the best approach moving forward is to combine data that focuses on procedural outcomes, as well as holistic disease outcomes. As a patient, I care about the results of a procedure, and even more so, I care about the outcomes of my entire course of treatment,” said Borden, who is also chief quality and population health officer at the GW Medical Faculty Associates. “This dual method would capture the outcomes information of greatest importance to patients, while also providing actionable data to drive both individual physician and hospital performance improvement.”

If the health care community does not improve these reports, making them more accessible to patients, Borden believes the vacuum will be quickly filled by other entities who may publish information in ways that may or may not benefit patients. This would also miss opportunities to help providers improve their care. He believes the medical community is responsible for providing accurate, contextual medical information to meet the ongoing needs of patients who are using this information to make health decisions.  

“Empowering individuals with knowledge is a good thing, and we need to make sure patients are empowered with the right kind of knowledge so they can make informed decisions,” said Borden. “Like journalists who are obligated to report the news with truthfulness, the medical community is obligated to present performance data with accuracy and appropriate context.”

The full commentary by Dr. William Borden, “Optimizing Transparency to Empower Patients,” visit  https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/fullarticle/2680627.