Wednesday, November 9, 2016

November 9,2016 Your Health Care Team

Tonight we talked about the health care professionals and allied health professionals who are part of the team involved in the care of women diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer.

We were pleased to have 26 participants join in the discussion. Additional analytics may be found here. And the complete transcript here

Here is a quick overview of the topic questions and responses:

T1: Why is it important to think about who is on your health care team? Do you have a defined health care team?
  • Consider post-Cancer experts you may need (ex. fertility), & recognize team members aren't all physicians (nurse navigators)
  • my team is everyone who has helped me get through dx, treatment and now survivorship
  • You have 2 be able 2 effectively communicate w/ your care team; these shouldn't be people you meet once & trust 4 optimal outcome

T2: Which professionals do you include in your health care team? What are some important roles to fill?

Professionals mentioned include: 
medical oncologist
gynecologic oncologist
radiation oncologist
genetic counselor
social worker 
financial counselor
nurse (clinical trial, adv practice, treatment)
primary care physician
mental health support

those who help with insurance , bills, transportation etc
patient groups

T3: What are some possibly over-looked or under-used health care professionals that can have an important impact? 
pelvic floor physical therapist
medical librarian 
health coach
palliative care specialist

T4: Let's look at radiation oncology. What role does #radonc play on your team? Positives, negatives, ways to improve?
  •  T4 The role is coming more to forefront, care plan are being developed specifically for post-treatment for radonc profs
  • Historically, while they may be part of care team, radonc was not weighted in the "patient engagement" strategy. That's changing

T5: For nursing, what have you found to be some of the most valuable impacts? What would you like to see improved? 
  • RNs have a huge role in connecting the dots behind the scenes & caring in clinics 
  • Listening skills and documentation competency!
  • Nurses are also the front line when discussing issues of fertility and sexuality

T6: How do you handle communication and coordination between the members of your health care team?
  • I think, unfortunately, that there is still a need for patients to have their own documentation to facilitate communication
  • Patient is center of care team. Share concerns & ask questions. Improves communication & satisfaction.
  • ask your clinic what options are available: phone calls, texts, secure/HIPAA compliant email, telemedicine might be available
  • Sometimes I think the wisest course is to assume no one has heard anything from anyone else on the team, no matter how vital 


Board Certified Pharmacists as Team members

List of team members via @CancerCare

National Society of Genetic Counselors

The must-have binder: my key to being an organized patient (or caregiver)

The next #gyncsm chat is Wednesday, December 14th at 9pmET. The topic is Getting Involved in Research.   

Remember if you are a patient or caregiver you can continue this conversation on the Smart Patients platform at

See you next month. 

Co-founder #gyncsm                              

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