Empowered Patients

Knowledge is power. That’s a statement we’ve all heard many times but age and life experiences often reveal the truthfulness of this trite expression. In particular, knowledge can be extremely powerful when someone is confronted with a serious or life-threatening health condition.

An empowered patient is one who exerts a considerable degree of control over decisions and actions that affect overall health. Research indicates that the first step to empowerment is access to relevant and adequate health-care information. In addition, coordinated care among medical professionals, patients, and their advocates is essential to the patient empowerment process. Empowered patients contribute toward better quality of care, improved patient safety, and reduction in adverse medical events.

The Empowered Patient Coalition is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping patients and their advocates improve the quality and safety of their healthcare. Their mission is to provide the tools, strategies, and support for patients to become fully engaged medical consumers in order to positively impact their safety and the quality of care they receive.

Through their website, the Empowered Patient Coalition provides:

If you are currently undergoing treatment for an illness or facing an upcoming medical procedure, check out the Empowered Patient Coalition website to get started on your way to becoming a well-informed medical consumer and improve the quality of care you deserve.

Comments

  1. How very cool.

    This is part of …..

    1) The decline of “information asymmetry” (where the doctor knows it all, and the patient knows nothing), thanks to the Internet, and

    2) A paradigm shift, related to the above.

    I know this will be a very familiar story to most long-time patients, but … many doctors have a death grip on knowledge, and can become quite defensive when working with a patient who is trying hard to be his/her own advocate.

    A couple things that I’ve found go a LONG way toward eliminating that:

    1) Jealously guard your credibility. By that, I mean … bring accurate information, and ONLY accurate information. The whole “I read on the Internet that …..” can be off-putting, and tend to reduce the likelihood that the doc will listen. I like the sort of PubMed, peer-reviewed, controlled testing stuff that is the life blood of the sciences. Be right … every time … if at all possible;

    2) If you’re doing your part, and your delivery is letter-perfect, and you’re still meeting with significant resistance … look elsewhere, if you have a choice. The paradigm shift INCLUDES teaching doctors that this IS a partnership, and that we want the same thing — a good medical outcome.

    But delivery is key. Nobody likes to be challenged, and … few like to be “corrected” or “educated.” That will get better over time, but — although it’s an additional burden to put on patients — it is our burden, for today.

    Also, while you’re jealously guarding your credibility, jealously guard your doctors’ time, too. They are pressured and they are busy. Be concise. Be fluent. Be informed. Whittle your “presentation” down to the bare bones. Make sure they know … that you know … that they are busy. Be information dense, and respectful of their time. They may not be overtly thankful, but … believe me … they’ll appreciate it.

    Good luck to all !

    • Janice M. Epstein says:

      Many are undergoing a paradigm shift, aren’t they? Respecting healthcare professionals’ time, being informed and moving on when you need to sounds like good advice for weathering the shift. Thanks for this really thoughtful comment!

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  1. […] Empowered Patients An empowered patient is one who exerts a considerable degree of control over decisions and actions that affect overall health. Research indicates that the first step to empowerment is access to relevant and adequate … Source: http://www.bostonsight.org […]

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