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28 September 2021, 14:01

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Personal assistants make appointments with a doctor or an examination, check the maintenance of medical records and answer any questions about support. Read the article for why patients need such support.

Not everyone is able to hear the diagnosis related to oncology and not give up, but quickly begin treatment and fight for health. Specialists of the “Personal Assistant” project help Muscovites to go this way. They accompany patients diagnosed with or suspected of having a malignant neoplasm at all stages. During the year of the project’s work, the support of personal assistants received more than 25 thousand patients… 12 percent of them are already under dispensary observation.

How important this support is for Muscovites, how they become personal assistants, and what cancer helpers think about their work – see this article.

Direct communication and personal communication

The Personal Assistant project was launched in August 2020 in the Southern Administrative District, and in March this year it became available to all residents of the city. This is part of the new Moscow standard for cancer care. Personal assistants make an appointment with the townspeople to see a doctor or for research, remind them of an upcoming visit to a doctor and check whether it took place or not. In their work, assistants use and analyze the patient’s medical records and answer questions that arise. Now Muscovites are accompanied by 69 specialists.


Patients will learn about the possibility of accompanying a personal assistant in the clinic when they are referred to an oncologist. Upon consent to such escort, the patient receives a personal assistant card with his last name, first name and telephone number. The patient can call the personal escort assistant directly. The assistant, having received information about a new patient, contacts him for further work.

“This is a personal communication with a person. It is very important to let the patient understand that he is not alone on the way to fight the disease, so that he feels our care, support and attention. Patients know their personal assistant by name and can contact him during office hours, ”says personal assistant Maria Markusheva. She previously worked on the COVID-19 hotline.

Training and testing

Personal assistants are not medical professionals, which is why they learn a lot of new specialized information before starting work. Normative acts, algorithms of actions, diagnoses – future assistants listened to lectures for several hours every day, and then were tested.


According to cancer assistants, only stress-resistant and attentive employees can cope with such work. These qualities are necessary to professionally accompany Muscovites who find themselves in a difficult situation.

“First of all, the desire to help people. If you just want to work for the sake of work, then this will not work. One day a patient told me that he does not have such a personal assistant in the bank as here. He was impressed by how responsibly and attentively I approach his escort, ”adds Olga Velmakina.

Important for patients

Patients with cancer or suspected cancer are forced to undergo many examinations. It is not an easy task to quickly sign up for each and not get confused about the dates of the appointment, especially in a stressful situation.

“Patients with suspected malignant tumors are people of different ages. Some patients, due to their age, do not use modern means of communication with access to the Internet, not everyone can sign up through a website or application, someone is helped by relatives, but not everyone has such support. It is important for such patients that they have someone to call, to whom to ask a question. We always try to orientate competently and clearly, ”says Olga Velmakina.

Personal support helps build trust, cancer helpers say. Patients tell them how the appointment went and what the doctor advised. At the same time, it is sometimes important for patients to simply be heard.

“In this job, I feel that I can really help people who need it,” Maria Markusheva shares her experience.

And Evgenia Gudeeva adds that sometimes the patients themselves are interested in how the day was with the assistants, congratulating them on the holidays.

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The Personal Assistant project was launched thanks to the Unified Medical Information and Analytical System (UMIAS). The results of analyzes and studies, examination and admission are stored in an electronic medical record, which can be accessed online by the doctor and the patient.

In the capital, care for cancer patients is provided at a new level, and this applies not only to the accompaniment of personal assistants. Within the framework of the new Moscow standard for the provision of oncological care, six multidisciplinary oncological centers have been created on the basis of the largest hospitals. Each patient can undergo diagnostics, surgery, radiation therapy, drug therapy and dispensary observation. Residents of one or two administrative districts of Moscow are assigned to the centers, which makes it possible to provide specialized care in the structure of one medical organization. This way you can shorten the time of making a diagnosis, increase its accuracy and promptly start treatment.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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