Open forum: Ask a Clinician: Insights from AnsibleChat
The recent AnsibleChat hosted on October 9, 2023, took the form of an open forum discussion on COPD with AnsibleHealth clinical team member Tiffany Cohen, a nurse practitioner who specializes in respiratory care. During this conversation, patients had the opportunity to ask questions and share their experiences living with pulmonary disease while discussing various aspects of their condition, including co-morbidities, medications, and self-advocacy.
One topic that emerged was the importance of understanding how COPD affects the heart and other organs. Tiffany Cohen explained: "If you have trouble breathing or if you're hypoxic, if your oxygen saturations are low, that will put extra strain on your heart...and that can lead to more volume overload and throw you into a heart failure exacerbation."
The conversation also touched on the differences between palliative care and hospice care. Another patient shared her positive experience with palliative care: "The great thing about palliative care is…[access to medical advice and help]. My experience has been that within a day…[my palliative care nurse] calls me back and works with me on whatever problem I have."
Self-advocacy was another significant theme throughout the discussion. Many participants stressed the importance of being proactive in managing their COPD, communicating with healthcare providers, and staying informed about their condition. One attendee emphasized the importance of coordinating care and being intentional about communicating changes to their medical care plan and medications to all medical professionals they are working with, making sure to take notes from appointments to other doctors and share any changes and updates happening in their care.
As many participants agreed, managing COPD involves navigating various aspects of the condition and maintaining open communication with healthcare providers. As patients advocate for themselves and stay informed about emerging treatments and resources, they can continue to live fulfilling lives despite their diagnosis.
Another area of discussion was navigating medications and potential interactions. Some patients shared their experiences with medications causing side effects or not working as effectively as desired. One patient shared her concerns about determining which medications caused side effects: "My problem is that what they didn't tell me when they prescribed it was once you get on it... I wish I knew that." In response to that concern, John Linnell mentioned a recent development in California: "California passed A.B. 425, giving medical patients access to groundbreaking pharmacogenomics (PGx) testing... these tests will help show how well certain drugs will work for you." John and Tiffany agreed that in the near future, genomic testing may help determine which drugs will work best for individual patients based on their genetic makeup, which will improve the current process of prescribing medications to patients.
The discussion on medication management resonated with many participants who agreed to continue the conversation in the next AnsibleChat scheduled for October 23, 2023. The upcoming session titled "Safely Balancing Medications and Supplements" will feature AnsibleHealth Nurse Practitioner Audra Doyle.
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