“When you’re given a diagnosis of breast cancer, you are in an overwhelming situation,” said Sandhya Pruthi, Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic, opening her session at this year’s Astellas Patient Advocacy Summit.

Entitled ‘How Shared Decision Making in Healthcare is Improving Patient Confidence and Satisfaction and Enhancing Patient Engagement‘, the talk centred on a breast cancer surgical decision tool developed by Dr. Pruthi and her colleagues.

“With all our experience with breast cancer patients, we know that they are full of questions,” said Dr. Pruthi. “They want to know timelines, like how long their treatment will take or what will happen after their treatment. And even if they are told that information in the clinic, they might forget it by the time they get home.”

To solve this problem, Dr. Pruthi and her team created a tool which included all types of educational material about breast cancer surgery that patients might need, from details about disease biology to the types of surgery available for each type of breast cancer.

The tool was placed on 90 tablets which were given to breast cancer patients at the end of their doctor’s appointment. Patients could take the tablet home and access the information they needed at any time, before providing a decision on what surgery they wanted.

The solution has proven effective and received remarkable patient feedback. A total of 93.6% of patients have so far found the tool to be useful with a similar number (93.8%) saying they would recommend it to other patients.

Even more impressive is its effect on patient confidence in their treatment decision. As measured on a 1–10 scale – 1 being not at all confident at all, 10 being very confident – the percentage of patients who chose either 8, 9 or 10 rose from 48.5% to 90.8% after being given the tool.

Mayo Clinic’s solution is an excellent example of how the patient voice can be effectively integrated into improving care – not only in sharing vital decision making, but incorporating patient opinion into the development of something that would help them, ultimately increasing confidence in the system as a whole.

“We listened to what the patients wanted and we gave it to them in the form of something they would be familiar with to help involve them in a major decision about their health,” said Dr. Pruthi. “Now we have something that will help every woman going through breast cancer for generations to come.”

Integrating the patient voice to innovate in breast cancer care

Astellas Patient Advocacy is a function within Corporate Affairs at Astellas that focuses on creating, building and maintaining third-party relationships. We serve as a conduit between Astellas and external stakeholders to help improve patient outcomes, improve access issues and address patients’ unmet needs head on.