Educating & Empowering Patients
As we turn page to 2016, this guest column by Dr. Ghosh in the Cedar Rapids Gazette speaks to our ongoing commitment to patient advocacy and empowerment.
A cancer diagnosis can be devastating physically, socially, emotionally, spiritually and financially. It can isolate its victims, place stress on relationships, exhaust savings and sometimes lead to bankruptcy. Help is available, but for a variety of reasons, many cancer patients don’t access the scope of care they so desperately need.
At The Ghosh Center, we emphasize the “care” part of healthcare. Our primary goal is to empower patients by educating, providing information and communicating with them.
Our patient-focused efforts have paid off. In 2015, The Ghosh Center was cited in the top one percent of healthcare providers in the United States, when we were recognized with a Guardian of Excellence Award by Press Ganey for outstanding patient satisfaction. Because we believe there's always room for improvement, The Ghosh Center resolves to continue to refine our patient care process in 2016.
Advocating for Yourself
In the meantime, here are some ways you can help improve patient advocacy:
Plain language: If you or someone you love has been handed a difficult diagnosis, insist that your physician explain all of your treatment options — and possible outcomes — in the simplest of terms.
Be an outstanding advocate: Get actively and aggressively involved in your care — or the care of your loved one — by asking questions, identifying options and expressing concerns. Gather all the information possible to make the best possible decision about your health.
Ask for help: Don’t be shy about asking for help in any aspect of your or your loved one’s diagnosis or treatment. This is a very generous community with resources available to patients and families in need.
Be good to yourself: Take the time to do little things that make you happy. Spend time with those you love. Laugh. Go for a walk. Get a massage. Identify what makes you feel good and do it!
How We Advocate for You
The Ghosh Center will continue to empower patients with the following tenets:
Our Patient Bill of Rights: This is our commitment to educate our patients about their disease and all the ways that cancer can impact their lives. We counsel our patients about treatments, tests and lab results. We take whatever time is necessary to make sure they understand their medical condition in a simple, explainable way. This allows our patients to make informed decisions about their treatment process.
Financial help: The Ghosh Center provides cancer care for any patient, regardless of their ability to pay. During the past 18 months, we have facilitated over two million dollars of financial assistance to our neediest patients. This assistance includes treatment costs, hotel expenses, transportation needs and meals — even massage therapy. Our affiliated non-profit foundation, The Anna Purna Ghosh Foundation, provides up to $1,000 per person per year to any cancer patient in our community — no matter where they choose to receive their care.
Data collection: The Ghosh Center collaborates with research professors at Mount Mercy University to collect important patient outcome data. This data is used to continually increase the effectiveness of our patient care. The data is also shared with patients and other members of the community.
During the coming year, we're resolved to continue improving our procedures in order to deliver outstanding treatment that is not dictated by an administrative or financial template. We will continue to empower our patients, thereby improving outcomes, reducing healthcare costs and increasing quality of life.
Remember, a cancer diagnosis doesn’t mean you have to give up the fight — or your rights. It’s time for all of us to work together to become better educated and empowered in the fight against cancer.