PATIENT-DOCTOR communication was a major topic of discussion at an online workshop to exchange knowledge on various issues affecting cancer patients in Sarawak.
Organised by the Society for Cancer Advocacy and Awareness Kuching (Scan), the workshop was attended by 30 cancer-related organisations and other guests.
In a statement, Scan said good patient-doctor communication had the potential to help regulate patients’ emotions, facilitate their comprehension of the medical issues they faced and allow better identification of their needs and expectations.
“This will definitely lead to patient satisfaction.
“It will also increase the doctors’ job satisfaction and reduce stress and burnout,” the society said.
It added that the results of the discussion would be shared with the relevant authorities in order to improve the level of care given.
During the workshop, Dr Voon Pei Jye, Dr Adibah Ali and Dr Chew Lee Ping from Hospital Umum Sarawak (Kuching) shared their views on patient-doctor communication and noted that good communication has been shown to improve the patient outcomes.
However, patient-doctor relationships can be hindered by challenges such as non-disclosure of information, lack of communication skills as well as language and cultural barriers.
From the patients’ perspective, Scan adviser Datin Dayang Mariani Abang Zain expressed disappointment that a small number of medical professionals displayed a lack of empathy towards their patients, but added that the majority of doctors were not like that.
Two other speakers also shared their experiences as a caregiver and patient, respectively.
The workshop also discussed patient navigation and financial support for cancer patients.
Cancer Research Malaysia gave an update on their patient navigation programme in the Pink Ribbon Centre for breast cancer patients while the National Cancer Society Malaysia Sarawak branch shared about its assistance for patients seeking palliative care.
There were also presentations by the National Cancer Council and MySalam on their financial support programmes to lighten the burden of cancer patients.