The Future of Patient Education Begins in Lee County

Kermit Farmer (left) poses for a photo during the CarePaths launch in September. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED TO THE OBSERVER




Kermit Farmer, in honor of his late wife Linda Farmer, has started Village Paths, a service that allows physicians to better connect with their patients through resources and tools.

“We’re providing medical clinics and medical providers the ability to create custom educational curriculum for caregivers and for patients in a streamlined process for everybody to better learn how to manage diseases and conditions at home,” Kermit said.

These curricula are known as care paths and they include information, videos, reading material, possibly support groups and more that a doctor can share with a patient.

“Imagine you find out you have cancer, or your loved one has cancer — let’s say that’s stomach cancer,” Kermit said. “After you’re given a diagnosis, it’s really hard to pay attention and focus on what the doctors are saying next. We’ve had too much innovation in health care over the last 50 years to have the output we have now in education. And I would argue it’s unacceptable, and that’s the purpose behind care paths.”

Kermit said that many physicians want to avoid burnout, and they also want to spend time with their patients.

“There’s not a lot of doctors that are happy with only spending five to eight minutes per patient in an average setting because they have so much more that they have to offer,” he said.

Kermit said 12% of information given by a physician in an appointment will be retained and used by the patient later on.

Once a patient has an opportunity to slow down and take in information, they often turn to outside sources — friends or Google, for example. This way, they have information from their doctor, Kermit said.

Both the patients and physicians can see how much of the information is completed by a patient and know what may need to be discussed at the next appointment.

“The common denominator in all this is collectively, we know patient education can be improved,” he said.

Kermit and his wife, Linda, experienced an overload of information themselves after she was diagnosed with stomach cancer.

“It’s typical when you have something dramatic, like you have cancer, or in my case, most of my wife’s stomach was removed, that led to lots of complications,” he said. “So, we battled kidney failure, we battled liver failure. We had 11 hospital admissions within 10 months. And next to all of those were unrelated to the cancer itself, but it was other things that, we’ll say, get in the way.

“… If a doctor has a hard time managing it, with all the social capital and all the intelligence and abilities that she had, and I have a background with some NASA logistics … and it’s hard for me, [how’s] the average person supposed to navigate the very way that we do medicine with the limited amount of doctor and patient time that we have?”

Right now, Kermit said that the organization is aiming for 10 physicians or practices over the next six months. They are also seeking more partners.

Those interested can find more information at Physicians pay a monthly fee for the service.

In the future, Kermit said, “I envision people having accessibility to the information about their health or their loved one’s health at a very rapid rate that’s reliable and credible from the doctors that are providing the services.”

Village Paths, and the idea of care paths, was an idea that Kermit was cooking while Linda was sick. He had the opportunity to share it with her, too, before she passed away on Feb. 15, 2022.

Kermit said that his wife valued education in her patients, and he is just carrying that on.

“If I can continue that … I’ll be proud of that,” he said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here