If you aren’t aware of the Society for Participatory Medicine, you should be. The organization’s membership is comprised of people who work or seek healthcare who promote participation, collaboration, cooperation and empowerment of all parties involved in the practice of medicine. Yes – people like us. You may be more familiar with the group if I tell you that the “e-patient” movement started with the SPM.
Importantly – members include patients, caregivers and others who are not necessarily traditional participants – and yes, advocates. It truly lives up to its name: PARTICIPATORY.
We, as advocates, are too keenly aware that our clients often run into roadblocks from providers who don’t want them to participate, or ask questions, or include an outside person – an advocate – in their care.
That line of demarcation is very clear to us:
- Doctors and other providers who welcome participation
- Doctors and other providers who don’t
One of the initiatives the Society has been working on was just launched, and it’s a tool we advocates can use for our clients. Just as importantly, it’s a tool we advocates can contribute to, too. At this juncture, that contribution may be the more important aspect.
Called the Participatory Seal, it’s a way of identifying practitioners who are willing to be participatory, who invite their patients, and their patients’ advocates, to collaborate in decision-making through the many aspects of diagnosis, treatment and payment for services. Providers can choose to subscribe / pledge their participation themselves, or patients, caregivers or advocates can nominate their providers as worthy of the seal.
So, for now, that’s where we advocates come in. We can subscribe to the concept of participatory medicine ourselves – AND – we can nominate those providers we know to provide services in a participatory fashion. The description of what needs to exist to be considered “participatory” is on the website.
The goal, in time, is to be able to search for these willing and able providers so our clients can choose them as their providers when the need arises. It’s a great way to know something about the choice being made; somewhat less blind than choosing from provider options is today.
Here is the nomination and pledging page, too.
Once you’ve pledged participation, you’ll be taken to a page where you can download the seal to put on your blog or website.
I’ve pledged – and my seal is now on my personal website. I’ve also nominated two of my doctors because they really do fit the bill.
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