Care and nutrition

Patient – doctor communication is vital for effective health care

By Joel Vega

The recent fraternization signed between the European Urology Association (EAK) and the European Coalition of Prostate Cancer (Europa Uomo), is expected not only to strengthen even more the ties between the two groups, but also to help the professional urologists in Europe to increase their contacts with their patients. The interest of the patients is contrary or neutral, but positive towards the medical profession. «We help EAK to understand the patient’s care needs, and this is very different from his treatment», according to Louis Denis, secretary of Europa Uomo, one of the largest patient advocacy groups in Europe that represents patients with prostate disease in general and prostate cancer specifically.

«The best communication includes respect, exchange of information and education by the professionals and a wide support. “This view of ‘treatment’ is not taught at university and would certainly provide more safety to the patient if doctors got off the high horse and treated them as partners,” Donis added.

«Thanks to the unique fraternization partnership with EAK, Europa Uomo will have access to the latest information for the best medical treatment in the field of urology. It will help the organization to keep its members informed», said the general secretary of EAK Per-Anders Abrahamsson, immediately after the formal signing of the cooperative in December 2009.

Abrahamsson and Denis believe that the partnership will help both EAK and EUROPA UOMO to cooperate in activities that will inform the patients of the two organizations and the doctors regarding efficient communication techniques and defining ways of achieving the best treatment. Denis explained that EUROPA UOMO needs all the help it can get from various sectors and medicine. We need EAK as the primary source for urological key-points, correct and unbiased information from the top. “The EAK Council, of course, has been very supportive and has been devoting its time in recent years,” Denis said.

He also stressed that he and EAK members will have regular and direct contact and a group of patients will provide useful information on how patients respond or use the information given to them by the professional therapists. He also said that prostate cancer patients, for example, are not only interested in getting information, but they also have to deal with their emotional and psychological needs. “Many patients, for example, would like to talk for hours and obviously doctors do not have the time for adequate answers. There are various different methods for doctors to overcome or handle these cases”, Denis said. During the next 25th Annual Conference of EAK in Barcelona in April, EUROPA UOMO intends to organize its own meeting for professionals and patients. The partnership with EAK, also, provides that it will provide EUROPA UOMO with an additional opening of promotion channels among EAK members and furthermore through EAK.

In recent years EAK and EUROPA UOMO, have already been involved in various communication activities, such as the annual Urology week which takes place every September. This is the first time that EAK enters a fraternizing partnership with a patient organization.

Both teams are expected to support each other’s goals and activities, although they are not part of the organizational structure of the partner organization. “Ultimately, we are moving towards a common goal. To raise the level of urological care in Europe. “We can definitely help each other, for example by exchanging information,” Abrahamsson said. The partners of EAK may also request organizational support provided by EAK headquarters, such as meetings and conferences. Also, the partners may expect the support of EAK in the form of advice in external relations/public relations and communication activities.

As Denis said, providing the best treatment and total care to patients is a goal that everyone shares.

Educating our doctors, cooperating in the European studies, improving access to medical treatment, these are benefits for all. The patient’s involvement is no longer on the sidelines. It must be ahead and from that point to produce or lead to the benefits, in medical care and medical science».