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HIV clinic-based audio project emphasizes the power of patient voices
Date:7/23/2014

providers another tool for helping patients struggling with issues like medication adherence. The project has also given clinicians and students a glimpse into the emotional impact of HIV, allowing them to learn the challenges patients face in navigating the health care system or to receive feedback on the clinical environment.

“This project provides another layer of understanding that is not available to every clinician or student, particularly in today’s medical environment when there is often limited time to build rapport with patients and students often receive information about patients second hand through the medical records or other members of the health care team,” Gaur said. Kathryn Cantrell, formerly of St. Jude and now of the University of Massachusetts, Boston, is the first author and Sylvia Sutton, a St. Jude social worker, is co-author of the essay.

St. Jude has been involved in HIV and AIDS research and treatment since 1987. Today the hospital’s multidisciplinary HIV/AIDS program cares for more than 275 HIV-infected children and youth. The VOICES project is currently limited to youth, who are approached about possible participation by a member of their health care team. The recordings average about five minutes in length and occur after patients provide written consent. The patient determines the content.

The resulting audio files are stripped of patient identification, catalogued by themes like disclosure, coping and relationships, and transcribed to make it easier for clinicians to access the library to help other patients with similar concerns.

The recordings underscore the importance of listening to patients, Gaur said. “If you really want to know a patient,” he said, “you have to listen.”

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National C
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