How Peer Mentorship Can Impact Healthcare Delivery

Patient advocates and influencers have provided peer mentorship for years, but healthcare providers are only now starting to embrace the practice to support healthcare delivery.

Julie Croner, our Patient Leader Network Director here at WEGO Health, was recently featured on an expert panel convened by Shared Purpose Connect to look at the growing use of peer mentors in chronic care management.

According to Eric Glazer, CEO of Shared Purpose Connect, the goal of the roundtable was to draw attention to the impact of peer mentors on patient outcomes and the overall patient experience.  

Other patient experts on the panel included Daniel G Garza (Actor, Speaker, HIV Advocate), and Lisa Davis-Budzinski (Founder, Central Pain Nerve Center; Author: At The End of The Day). Clinicians included Marianne Sumego (MD, Physician, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics; Director of Shared Medical Appointments, Cleveland Clinic), Ramiro Jervis (MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, NYU Langone Health), and Julie Day (MD, Medical Director of Quality Improvement and Population Health Management, Community Physician Group, University of Utah).  

Julie shared with the panel the life-changing impact peer mentorship had on her own patient journey. With top-rated physicians offering few treatment options consistent with the quality of life Julie was seeking,  she explained how she learned from her peers in online communities. There Julie found a supportive group of patients who shared their experience with other therapies. That led her to the discovery of a stem cell procedure that gave her back her life. Julie also led the panel discussion on the economic impact of peer mentoring.

The physicians on the panel described how shared medical appointments are bringing the concept of peer mentoring to the clinical side of the patient journey. Dr. Sumego, who has been running shared appointments for 20 years, detailed how patients change their perspectives on — and commitment to — their care when peers are present to encourage and advise them.

As the industry focus on patient-centric care grows, peer mentorship is firmly planting its place in both the personal and clinical areas of the patient journey. Sharing stories about the positive impact of patient-centric practices can only help foster growth. For more from the roundtable, you can watch the full discussion here.


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