Sarah Krüg, Executive Director of CANCER101, Founder of the Health Collaboratory and PFMD board member explores the pivotal role the patient-doctor relationship plays in effective patient engagement in a video of her recent Tedx Talk in Brussels.

Drawing on her own experiences of losing both parents to cancer at a young age and almost losing her husband to a misdiagnosed tumour, Sarah passionately advocates the key importance of the patient-doctor relationship and highlights that healthcare professionals are often the primary point of contact for patients and remain an integral part of the patient journey, having a huge impact on health outcomes and playing a pivotal role in connecting patients with other health stakeholders.

‘The patient’s life expertise is as important as the doctor’s medical expertise and only when the two come together and embrace in what I refer to as the Patient Doctor Tango, can it truly lead to a powerful connection and ultimately a flawless performance. In the ideal patient-doctor relationship, the patient’s expertise is embraced in partnership with the doctor’s medical expertise, which is the essence of participatory medicine. The sad reality is that we are far from mastering the art and science of the Patient Doctor Tango. The patient story, the patient voice, our oldest diagnostic tool is often overlooked in healthcare. The majority of healthcare systems have not been designed to embrace the voice of the patient. However, there are pockets where this is happening and the value of this is being recognised. In a sense, it is a new way of practicing medicine, so we have some work to do’, says Krüg.

Engaging the patient and leveraging their voice is a key focus in healthcare across the continuum of care. Many sectors are just beginning to engage in these efforts and others are lurking with an intent to learn from the efforts of others. Krüg’s spotlight on the patient life expertise aligns with Patient Focused Medicine Development’s (PFMD) mission. PFMD aims to transform the way in which we understand, engage, and partner with patients globally in the design and development of research and medicines by focusing on their unmet needs. PFMD brings together and synergizes disparate but complementary efforts that integrate the voice of the PATIENT across the lifecycle of medicine.
Krüg goes on to say, “The voices of my mother, my father and my husband weren’t heard at the time, but I am here to tell their story. My sleepless nights of ‘what-ifs?’ fuel my passion to make a difference in the lives of others as a patient advocate where I help patients and caregivers navigate their health. I am hopeful that as we start to amplify the voice of the patient what happened to me and my family will never affect yours.”

PFMD welcomes membership from institutions, organisations and enterprises that support a better future for patients. Join us and help shape the patient engagement landscape.