Getting a European quality medicine without spending a lot of money or without going abroad, has now become possible.
Remote supervision of patients by one or several foreign specialists is gaining more and more demand.
The emergence of modern treatment techniques in different countries allows patients to undergo a high-quality treatment without going abroad. Nevertheless, many patients experience difficulties in trusting local specialists and actively use the second opinion service, however this service is punctual and does not cover specific tasks, for example, checking the radiation plan for dosimetry and body contour.
An oncologist-radiotherapist from the famous cancer center Gustave Roussy and Georges Pompidou, told about how he works with foreign patients.
“Our medical institution receives hundreds of requests for oncology treatment every day from all over the world, however, the cost of studying the dossier and treatment is very high, not all patients can afford it, moreover, our structure is not entirely arranged for working with foreign patients.
Such oncology treatment methods as radiosurgery, immune and targeted therapy began to spread around the world and now, many patients do not have to travel abroad to receive such treatment. Nevertheless, we noticed that many patients continue to stubbornly try to travel abroad and this may be due to the mentality and local culture, it is difficult for us to explain, but the fact remains. Many patients are afraid of medical error and try to protect themselves as much as possible.”
What is the difference between a second opinion service and full-fledged supervision?
A second opinion is given one based on the provided medical documents. During supervision, the patient is led from A to Z, asked to do additional tests, adapt the treatment to the evolution of the situation, and most importantly, are in constant contact with the patient and the attending physician, who conducts the treatment on the spot.
Why is medical supervision carried out by a foreign specialist?
First of all, for the patient’s peace of mind, the patient understands that the quality of treatment is not only cool drugs and devices like Versa HD, but also experience. For example, if a doctor does not have experience with fusion scanners, then he can only partially treat the tumor. Incorrect dosimetry or contouring can also cost a patient's life, even though he may never know about an error. Such errors are discovered everywhere, as well as in France, so in France, verification systems at each stage are established at the legislative level. The same applies to immune or targeted therapy, side effects can be very severe and experience with these drugs is very important.
How do local specialists feel about such a collaboration? Do they feel this approach is humiliating?
A good specialist will even be glad of such a collaboration, as this is an opportunity to improve your competence and is a wonderful exchange of experience. And this is a good experience both for that specialist and for us. In medicine, there is no place for pride and ego, there is a common cause, it is the well-being and health of the patient and we share a common goal. In the world of medicine, consulting with colleagues in the profession is common and is an indicator of openness. Patients should be cautious of doctors who are overly confident in themselves and their competence, regardless of the country since the human factor is always present.
How to tell another doctor about an error without hitting him or her?
There is such a thing as deontology, in medicine it is a very important element of work ethics, if a doctor has problems with deontology, then joint collaboration will be difficult, so we will most likely refuse such cooperation. It is very important for us to build a trusting relationship with both the patient and the doctor. Medicine is not an exact science, it is not mathematics, there may not be one right answer, which is why discussion is very important. We are not here to measure competencies, but to find the optimal solution for the patient. Nobody indicates anyone how to treat, but instead - a discussion is underway.
How is the communication between the patients and doctors being held?
Depending on the pathology, if it comes to the treatment of oncology, then the relationship will be long-term, treatment is divided into stages, and each stage is divided into sub-stages. For example, if we are talking about prostate cancer and the treatment will be carried out in two stages, stereotactic radiosurgery and subsequent hormone therapy, in this case the first “call” is carried out with the doctor to coordinate this particular treatment protocol, approval of radiosurgery instead of surgery, since this the approach is preferable for the patient, afterwards we specify the treatment plan, contouring, dosimetry, merging of dosimetry scanning with MRI. After that, we prescribe (or not) a course of hormone therapy, depending on the results, and the last stage is monitoring. The last stage of support includes regular screening to evaluate the tumor response to treatment or not, depending on the results, treatment adjustments are made. Communication with the doctor takes place without the presence of the patient. However, the patient can ask any questions he is interested in, in the general chat room, which is created by an assistant translator; during the whole treatment he performs organizational and translational support.
How much does the service of remote supervision by a foreign specialist cost?
It all depends on the specialist, his workload and demand. On average, if you consider all the translation costs and the time spent by the specialist at the conference and studying the medical dossier, half a year of supervision will cost approximately from 3,000 to 4,000 euros. This method of cooperation is pleasant both to patients and to local doctors, so the doctor relieves a certain pressure, which some patients can exercise. The patient is given the feeling that he has done the best for his health or the health of a loved one.