It’s not every day you share the stage with a rock star. I had the pleasure of doing so at this year’s DTC National, where I presented alongside Dr. Mohammad Jahanzeb, Chief Medical Oncology and Scientific and Strategic Advisor at GenesisCare. While “Dr. MJ,” as he is affectionately called, has the most fascinating background and a mile-long CV, within moments of meeting him you know this man is genuine, approachable and fiercely committed to his patients.
During our session, Dr. MJ and I discussed his point of view on today’s patient experience, the power of tech in the physician office and how pharma can best partner with healthcare providers. We also talked about Dr. MJ’s new precision patient information service PrecisCa. Together, we’re leveraging PatientPoint exam room technology to give cancer patients access to world-renowned experts right at the moment of diagnosis to increase comprehension and help with patient retention.
Read on for highlights of our discussion:
LINDA: We began with the touching story of your patient Charlotte Rothfarb, who came to you 11 years ago at age 80 with Stage 4 lung cancer. We know for patients like Charlotte, cancer didn't stop for COVID. What’s it been like to care for patients like her these past 18 months?
I love Charlotte’s story and get so inspired by patients like her; she was supposed to live eight months on average and here she is, turning 91 this year! So, we all remember last March when everything shut down. While we were able to use telehealth for a portion of our practice, it can never replace the in-person experience. Patients can't be given intravenous chemotherapy via Zoom, and we can’t physically examine patients via Zoom. With Charlotte, a few months ago she was complaining of wrist pain. It turns out she had autoimmune complications from her immunotherapy treatment; her wrist was so inflamed she could not hold her tennis racket. Had I not seen her in person, I wouldn’t have been able to feel her tender joints and fully realize her situation. Said another way, I could not have touched her wrist by Zoom!
"Patients can't be given intravenous chemotherapy via Zoom, and we can’t physically examine patients via Zoom."
LINDA: Tell me about how you are incorporating tech into your practice and some of the benefits you’ve seen.
One big way I bring technology to my practice is with PatientPoint’s interactive monitor in the exam room. It can be so many things! This can be an educational tool for the patient and even the doctor can learn new things with the knowledge being streamed (doctors don't know everything!). You can find a video or some other education and email that to the patient for them to watch later at home. Or you could play an educational video and say, “I'll be right back,” then go return a couple of phone calls or go see another patient. Doing so, you might be able to see three extra patients a day, which is a lot for an oncologist to be able to do.
LINDA: It’s safe to say you’re progressive when it comes to accepting new technologies. Are your patients and others you work with open to it like you are?
I think the younger generation of doctors as well as patients are well versed with technology. The older patients are also adapting. Now patients have devices that they wear that are transmitting readings such as their blood sugar, for example, constantly to the endocrinologist. This is a revolution that's not going to turn in the other direction—this is here to stay. So, the companies and entities that harness technology for patients and patient care are going to be ahead of the curve than those who are reluctant.
"The companies and entities that harness technology for patients and patient care are going to be ahead of the curve than those who are reluctant."
LINDA: You shared a fascinating stat with me about how in some cases, 88% of cancer patients are going in to get a second opinion. Talk about getting a second opinion in cancer, how that influences who treats the patient and how we’re working together on your solution for that.
It's critical for patients to have peace of mind, especially when they have something as serious as cancer, that they are getting the best opinion. The second opinion typically wins over the first for a simpler reason than you may think: We tend to “shoot the messenger” with the first specialist because s/he was the one who delivered the bad news. Since the second opinion contains no further bad news, the patient perceives the second specialist to be nicer and easier to understand, choosing that treatment. The point-of-care second opinion can change all of that. PrecisCa has captured 1,500 videos of the world’s foremost experts explaining things like HER-2 positive breast cancer and they’re loaded onto the PatientPoint exam room terminals. This empowers specialists to show patients those second opinions, on demand in the exam room to instill confidence and ultimately retain that patient.
LINDA: You’re a huge advocate for pharma. Any tips on how to make testimonials and support and savings programs more top of mind or more meaningful for you?
Patient testimonials are the most powerful because these patients are the ones who are being affected or benefited by these treatments and our decisions. I think that articulate patients are a huge asset for any message to be delivered. A natural way to amplify these powerful testimonials is through your interactive monitors. Look at the reach of that. If you have amazing content and you pipe it through to 5,000 exam rooms and then you multiply by how many patients visit an exam room every day, that can be such a powerful tool that we never had before.
"If you have amazing content and you pipe it through to 5,000 exam rooms and then you multiply by how many patients visit an exam room every day, that can be such a powerful tool that we never had before."
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