The Value of Peer-to-Peer Healthcare

For many, the moments and days following a chronic illness diagnosis can be confusing and overwhelming. In these difficult situations, seeking help from peers who have been there before can help to ease this transition. An article from the New York Times entitled Sometimes Patients Simply Need Other Patients discusses the power in patients sharing stories with each other.

There’s an unquestionable value to having more “experienced” patients act as peer mentors to others. The healthcare system has gaps – it’s more event-based and less holistic than patients need. Rather than having healthcare professionals help patients along each step of the way, our healthcare system is too fragmented to allow for patients to get the emotional support that they need. While people should to see professionals for accurate medical diagnoses, they tend to turn to peers for support or advice on everyday health problems.

This is where Curatio comes in to help patients along their health journeys.

As soon as a user signs up to Curatio, they are personally welcomed on-board by a community manager – an experienced peer mentor who acts as a “coach” and can guide them through their questions and concerns. Once welcomed, users are met with a private network of peers like them, who are willing to share, learn, and have open discussions with each other.

Users enter a community where they can connect with other patients who have the same condition and share their anxieties and concerns. Peer mentors can use their experiences to guide others, and can help users to prepare for the next session with their doctor. Whereas healthcare professionals haven’t gone through the same experiences that a patient has, peer mentors have. And as such, their emotional support and coaching carries a great weight.

This type of sharing is not unlike how we often share with others in our daily lives – except with Curatio, patients own their own data and are in control of what they share, how much they share, and who they share with. Curatio is always free for the user, and patient privacy is at the heart of our mission. The New York Times provides evidence across a multitude of studies that show the benefit of peer support for patients with chronic illnesses in daily disease management, social and emotional support, linking patients to clinical care, and ongoing extended support. And we’ve seen this work first-hand – users of Curatio jumping in support one another, give encouragement, and share ideas with peers in their network.

Sharing is not only beneficial for new patients, but it is also extremely gratifying for those peer mentors that offer their stories. This gives them a sense of ownership and gratification that comes from helping a peer through the same difficult experience they once had. By listening to and sharing stories that unite them as patients, Curatio users experience the benefits of being part of a supportive, private community of their peers.

 

Original article by: Aaron E. Carroll, Austin Frakt

Stephanie Oey