This is a hot topic right now within healthcare. The basic idea is simple: people get more from their healthcare when they are active participants, especially when they are proactive about their health. (Such people are sometimes called “e-patients,” with the “e” standing for engaged, enabled, equipped, and educated.)
This means doing things like asking questions, researching your health problems online, connecting with others facing similar health challenges, and most of all: making sure the healthcare providers know what’s important to YOU.
For instance, you should be actively involved in developing the medical plan, meaning that at a minimum, you should let the doctors know whether what they’re proposing sounds ok to you. And, you should be able to let them know if the treatment plan isn’t working out well for you.
Now, one big problem is that we’re often feeling sick when we’re involved with the healthcare system, especially when it comes to hospitals. Which is why family caregivers are very important, when it comes to being proactive and involved with healthcare. When a person has a family member or friend helping them be proactive, getting better healthcare is much more likely.
In this video from the Impact80 Virtual Caregiver Summit (organized by Carenovate Magazine), I joined several experienced advocates in a conversation about fostering patient and caregiver empowerment. We talk about what it means, what are the current barriers, and useful resources that can help patients and caregivers. If you’d like to learn more about this topic, which includes references to several online resources, please take a look!
Also, below is a link to a resource I mention in the video: the Center for Advancing Health (CFAH). This is a wonderful website that explains health engagement and offers practical resources for patients and caregivers:
At CFAH’s website, you can learn more about these 10 ways you can be proactive about your health, or a family member’s health:
- Find Good Health Care
- Communicate With Your Doctors
- Organize Your Health Care
- Pay For Your Health Care
- Make Good Treatment Decisions
- Participate in Your Treatment
- Promote Your Health
- Get Preventive Health Care
- Plan for Your End-of-Life Care
- Seek Knowledge About Your Health
Have you been trying to learn more about patient engagement? What does it mean to you, and what resources have you found helpful?