Patient Education: What Patients Need to Know About Thyroid RFA

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Summary: 
Thyroid RFA, cleared by the FDA in 2018, offers patients a non-surgical option for thyroid nodules. STARmed provides extensive patient and clinician resources, including education, support, and marketing assistance. Key communication points include procedure benefits, potential side effects, and ongoing post-treatment care.

Main Points:

  • Thyroid RFA offers a non-surgical treatment option for thyroid nodules.
  • STARmed provides comprehensive patient education resources, including literature, videos, and FAQs.
  • Clinicians receive thorough education and support through STARmed Academy and STAR Support.
  • Effective patient communication involves explaining the procedure’s benefits, potential side effects, and post-treatment care.
  • Honesty and transparency are crucial for building patient confidence in thyroid RFA.

Thyroid RFA is a fairly new technology, receiving FDA clearance in 2018. Over the past six years, the team at STARmed has collaborated with clinicians to innovate, crafting the safest, most clinically-proven ablation devices on the market. If you are currently utilizing thyroid RFA in your practice, you are a trailblazer, embracing progress and offering your patients life-changing treatment options beyond surgery.

While many patients will seek out your practice because you offer minimally invasive, non-surgical treatment options, others will be learning about Thyroid RFA for the first time. The biggest challenge for clinicians offering such treatment is patient education. How do you help patients understand the strengths of a technology that many educated physicians are still discovering today?

In this thyroid RFA patient education guide, we’ll share the best practices for communicating with new patients. Continue reading to learn how current STARmed clinicians offer health education for thyroid patients that leads to long-term positive outcomes.

Thyroid Patient Education Resources

Strong patient education begins with a bank of clear, accessible resources that help patients understand the benefits and risks of choosing thyroid RFA. Ideally, such resources will be multi-modal, including literature, video resources, images, blogs, and animations. Likewise, patients should have access to checklists and worksheets that help them communicate with clinicians during consultations, helping them feel prepared, even if they have lingering questions or concerns.

We offer a patient-facing bank of resources on our RFA for Life website. All resources are specific to thyroid RFA performed with STARmed technology, which means they include research-backed citations that inspire peace of mind. Patients will discover worksheets, explainer videos, and FAQs answered clearly and concisely by real STARmed clinicians. We have even included patient testimonials, which can help prospective patients see the potential results.

This exhaustive, constantly expanding bank of patient education resources is one reason why many clinicians choose to implement STARmed RFA technology in their practices. It removes the burden from practitioners so they can focus on clearly and compassionately responding to specific questions and delivering the highest quality care.

Clinician Education Resources

Strong patient education begins with comprehensive clinician education. At STARmed America, our grand vision is to improve the quality of life for all patients worldwide. Education and support are essential to achieving our mission. That’s why we offer professional Thyroid RFA training and ongoing clinical support to all clinicians utilizing our technology in their practices.

  • STARmed Academy: This flexible, expert-guided curriculum includes live webinars, an extensive library database, and hands-on, in-person events to help you build your clinical skills. We have four live-case observation centers across the country, and our hands-on nodule model training is available nationwide. One of the largest benefits is improved patient satisfaction.
     
  • STAR Support: STARmed offers reliable, real-time clinical support and resources to ensure optimal outcomes for every patient. You’ll have the answers to patient questions when you need them, even if you’re new to offering thyroid RFA in the office. Likewise, we offer marketing support, which can help patients looking for minimally-invasive treatment options find your practice.

Communicating With Patients About RFA for Thyroid Nodules

Patient Education

According to the AHRQ, the best practices for patient education are consistent across all procedures. Thus, educating patients about RFA for thyroid nodules should begin with a clear and concise explanation, including how RFA works and the precise outcome.

It can be helpful to share the specific benefits of thyroid RFA, especially compared to more invasive treatment options such as surgery. Be sure to emphasize:

  • The procedure’s minimally invasive nature
  • The shorter recovery time compared to surgery
  • The reduced risk of complications
  • The preservation of healthy thyroid tissue
  • The continuation of normal thyroid function without the need for lifetime medication
  • The lack of scarring
  • The procedure’s use worldwide
  • The potential for an enhanced quality of life post-procedure

It is also wise to educate patients about potential side effects, including mild discomfort and the potential for slight bruising around the ablation site. Be sure to inform them of all of their treatment options, including surgery, active monitoring, and potentially other ablative treatments. Always tailor your information to the needs of the specific patient and their unique indications, thoroughly addressing their individual questions and anxieties.

It’s crucial to encourage and address questions. If patients seem overwhelmed, provide the patient-facing resources described above and direct them to FAQ and consultation worksheets. These resources can help them put words to their concerns and provide answers to questions in an accessible, easily digestible format. Consider scheduling a second consultation specifically to continue the conversation and help them make the best-informed decision for their needs.

Furthermore, patient education should not end when a patient has made a decision about their procedure. After the procedure is complete, ensure they have access to post-treatment care instructions. Patients should have contact information for members of their care team who can address any concerns that arise during recovery.

It’s okay to share with patients that thyroid RFA is a fairly young procedure. It has a much longer history worldwide and has been used successfully on patients for two decades. Likewise, it can be comforting to share that STARmed technology is featured in over 160 clinical articles, which provide documentation of its safety and efficacy.

Ultimately, the key to successful patient communication is honesty and transparency. While some patients will be apprehensive, many will be excited about a new, minimally invasive option with such a strong history of successful outcomes. The best practices above go a long way toward inspiring confidence and providing peace of mind for new thyroid RFA patients.

Contact us to learn more about clinician education from the experts at STARmed America.

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