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Andrea Baer: Peer-to-Peer Support Programs Encourage Better Health Choices

Peer-to-peer support programs motivate and encourage patients to make better healthcare choices but they require certain regulations and processes to function properly and effectively, says Andrea Baer, director of Patient Advocacy for Mended Hearts.


Peer-to-peer support programs motivate and encourage patients to make better healthcare choices but they require certain regulations and processes to function properly and effectively, says Andrea Baer, director of Patient Advocacy for Mended Hearts.

Transcript (slightly modified)

How does peer-to-peer support empower patients and make them more adherent to their medications?

I think that peer-to-peer support is important for empowerment because it shows you as a patient that you can do something better, or make a better choice, or make a different choice based upon what your peers can do. We all understand that going to the gym, for example, is really hard if you’re doing it by yourself and trying to self-motivate, but if you get with a group of people and you start working on going to the gym and holding each other accountable, then it’s a little easier to get up in the morning and go the gym.

That’s kind of what peer-to-peer support does. It’s that “been there done that” theory that really helps to empower and motivate patients to make better healthcare choices.

How can a peer support program ensure it is successful?

I think it’s really important to understand that a good peer-to-peer support organization has very important rules and regulations and they do trainings for their supporters. I don’t think the peer support programs that just say “hey, let’s just get together in the basement and talk,” are really a support programs. There are really important processes that you should take as an organization to build a support program.

 
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