I have been living in Spain for almost three years. As an “e-patient” from America, I have noticed that patients, in a largely government-run system, are less outspoken and seem to be less “self-advocates”. I have found the doctors to be generally good, as they are in the states, but, in my opinion, it still benefits the patient to be more engaged, more educated about their condition, and more empowered. In cancer I think that is especially true because things are changing: a lot of research is underway, treatments are becoming more personalized, and there is more support for other aspects of patient and family life beyond cancer medicines. Here in Spain, I’ve been looking for that kind of 24/7 channel for cancer patients and family members. It doesn’t exist. And in-person events, when they occur, may have limited reach.

Patient Power has set out to change that and recently in Barcelona we produced a great example. Working with the leading cancer centers and top medical experts and patient advocates, we produced, largely at our own expense, a 5-hour “town meeting about multiple myeloma, a cancer where there is increasingly more hope. This gave any patient and family member, for free, the opportunity to meet others and speak with and hear from leading specialists. It was a huge success as 110 people attended and told us they found it of great value. And many more were reached because of television news coverage and  now, video clips that are appearing here and on other sites online.

Here’s a brief video we prepared to invite sponsors to join us so we can produce similar in-person and online events not only in Spain but throughout Europe and for many conditions. We know there is the need to bring people together in-person and virtually and, with a steady flow of online video content, to build deeper, more empowering relationships that can lead to better health and a higher quality of life.

I am excited about what we are proving – patients and family members are seeking information to be more in control and to have hope. That is just as true in Spain and in many other countries as in the U.S. People with a serious diagnosis want understanding, answers, and a plan for their life that gives them confidence and a brighter outlook. We believe communications, leveraging gatherings and today’s digital technologies can help tremendously to have the widest, most sustained impact. The Barcelona event and the content that flows from it is a great first step.

 

Wishing you and your family the best of health!

Andrew Schorr, Founder, Patient Power