Patient Support Corps

What’s the goal?

To help patients navigate their appointment and clarify patients’ questions and objectives. By helping patients list their questions and concerns prior to the appointment and providing patients with a summary document and recording afterwards, the Patient Support Corps can achieve this goal while providing additional emotional support along the way. 

What are the services provided?

The PSC provides student interns to assist patients using proven support strategies:

  1. Reviewing information and listing questions.
    1. The student intern will help the patient develop a comprehensive question list based on set prompts. An example guide can be found here. The list will then be sent to the clinician before the appointment.
  2. In-person or telemedicine appointment recording and note-taking.
    1. Volunteers will accompany patients to their appointment or attend virtually over ZOOM/phone and record/transcribe the conversation, so patients do not have to worry about remembering every detail of their visit and clinician recommendations.

Who are the Patient Support Corps interns and how are they trained?

The MGH Patient Support Corps is based on the UCSF Patient Support Corps model. The Patient Support Corps was founded to address the concern that navigating our healthcare system can be stressful and intimidating for patients, families, and clinicians. Student interns are trained by Patient Support Corps leaders and completing an 18-hour online module from UCSF. Interns are supervised by Drs. Karen Sepucha and Leigh Simmons of the MGH Health Decision Sciences Center.

How is it funded?

These services are provided to patients and families free of charge. The administrative staff supporting this project are funded by the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization and the Division of General Internal Medicine Phoenix Grant.

Project Leadership:

Karen Sepucha, PhD: Director, Health Decision Sciences Center

Leigh Simmons, MD: Medical Director, Health Decision Sciences Center

Project Team:

Felisha Marques, MPH: Project Manager, Health Decision Sciences Center

8 Harvard College undergraduate students, 1 Suffolk University undergraduate student

Learn more about our team who lead these efforts here.

Partnering Clinical Sites/Champions:

Beverly Moy, Medical Oncology, MGH Cancer Center

Sammy Elmariah, Interventional Cardiology, MGH Corrigan Minehan Heart Center

Thomas Cha, Orthopedic Spine Surgery, MGH Spine Center

George Alba, Pulmonary and Critical Care, MGH Coronavirus Recovery (CORE) Clinic

Michelle L’Heureux, Internal Medicine, MGH Primary Care