by Kim Smolderen
As a medical psychologist and outcomes researcher, I have always focused my work on trying to better understand patient experiences as they navigate care for their disease. I started my career in social work and worked in a hospital. I saw many patients at a critical juncture in their lives as they were dealing with chronic diseases. In my work as a researcher thereafter, I focused on the individual’s experience and how other life factors and societal factors shaped those experiences.
Through a post-doctoral training in cardiovascular outcomes research by the American Heart Association, my focus expanded on understanding quality of care and quality of life outcomes for patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD). Through this broader lens, our team – along with a team of patient experts – started studying hundreds of patients’ experiences in the U.S., the Netherlands and Australia as they were facing a new diagnosis of PAD.
This research allowed us to understand this disease better as seen from the patients’ perspective, as that perspective should be the driver of how tailored and responsive care is designed, as patients’ needs define that care. With our work, we hope to develop patient-centered management programs to improve patients’ quality of care and outcomes.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with PAD, take some time to explore our Show Me PAD website to learn about PAD and the different treatment options available. You can watch videos with perspectives from patients and providers, and use the Decision Aid to help you decide what is best for your lifestyle.