An increasing trend in professional healthcare is to recognise the active role patients take in managing their conditions.
The concept is simple. Patients already take a role in managing their healthcare, but the idea is to move them from passive recipients of healthcare to proactively managing their conditions. Medical organisations are now actively recognising and supporting the role patients take in managing their healthcare. In June 2016, the Guardian newspaper reported on a study for the NHS that recognises the idea, and details simple processes that can be put in place to support the patient’s role. When any patient has any form of hospital stay or surgery however serious and takes control of their own healthcare it is a good idea to consult a Cheltenham Power of Attorney company at websites such as https://beesandco.co.uk/our-services/power-of-attorney-cheltenham/. If you don’t do this and things don’t go the way you had planned it could leave your loved ones with no idea of your wishes in regards to your healthcare choices or possessions. If you become the designated person on the Health and Welfare Power of Attorney you can then make those decisions for them.
This is set to be followed in the US, as healthcare managers focus increasingly on patient engagement, while changes to the way healthcare is paid for and delivered are introduced.
The Patient Experience
Of course, in part this is simply about recognising what patients already do to manage their health, in support of professionals and organisations. Patients are expected to chase up specialist referrals, manage their medicine, and arrange any physiotherapy sessions.
According to a US report, patients act as unofficial couriers, and nearly 30% physically carry important data like X-Rays or test results from one provider to the next. This impacts upon how well data is retained and stored, with 55% of patients reporting an incomplete or incorrect medical history on file when they visit their doctor.
If the patient has a chronic or long term condition, then the burden on the patient increases. A 2012 study estimated that management of chronic illness involved at least two hours of patient work every day. This is in addition to a patient coping with illness in the first place.
Empowering the Patient
Healthcare organisations need to recognise the work that patients do in supporting their treatment. Once the patient’s work is recognised, it needs to be actively supported. This means designing systems to accommodate the change in delivery. Research and staffing solutions need to be developed to support the patient in their new active role, perhaps through a contract research organization that are already developing clinical solutions to new methods of working.
All of this empowers the patient to take ownership of condition management. This is not to abrogate medical responsibility, but to develop proactive relationships that actively recognise the role patients take in healthcare delivery, and improve healthcare outcomes.