"I was invited to participate in the 2014 Rev Forum, a “big-tent” type of event sponsored by LiveSTRONG and Genentech, and featuring the participation of ASCO’s Conquer Cancer Foundation, who had extended the invitation to me. The Rev Forum brings together a diverse group of participants—from clinicians, to policymakers, artists, advocates, and most importantly, patients, to rethink cancer care. As I considered what issues we could address, one thought was first and foremost in my mind: how to engage and empower more patients in these types of discussion.
In the business community, distinctions are clearly made between engagement and empowerment. Engagement reflects one’s understanding of purpose and mission, and the shared commitment from all involved to seeing an organizational goal accomplished. In contrast, empowerment refers to the ability to do what one wants and/or feels necessary to accomplish a task. The best way to realize a mission or achieve a goal is to be both engaged and empowered.
As a clinician, I want my patients engaged. It is important to me that they understand their diagnosis, prognosis, and the treatments they are being asked to take. I want them to feel invested in their therapy and to understand their side effects and how they will be monitored. When my patients are engaged, I see myself as a partner in their care. Their treatment becomes a shared responsibility and the doctor-patient relationship is one of equals. To me, patient engagement lies at the heart of ethics in medicine and informed consent. Indeed, it is a reflection of good patient care."