This post rang particularly true for me – both as a patient myself (who isn’t from time to time?!) as a clinician involved in helping people develop self management (which includes health literacy), and finally, as a researcher looking at the ways people who are resilient despite their chronic pain cope with their health condition. Whew! Sorry for the long sentence!
I don’t know that I completely agree that patient engagement isn’t for health care providers, because plenty of people are ambivalent about enacting their good intentions. This is where what we do counts most. Listening, helping establish what is important to the person, then supporting them to “take the next best step” for their health. This might mean giving them a call a couple of days later to see how they’re getting on, helping them set specific actions to take (time, date, what, when, where), and then reviewing how this is working some time in the future. Being proactive.
Patients often don’t get the respect they deserve. Take the subject of patient engagement. Just about everywhere you turn in the health care literature these days we are told how physicians and other providers need to do a better job getting patients involved in their own health.
But is that really their role?
Patient Engagement Is Not The Job Of Health Care Providers
Why? Because by the time a person (aka patient) presents for care in the primary care physician’s office…they are already engaged in their own care to some degree…albeit now necessarily in the way providers expect. Here’s what I mean.
People consult with their doctor when they have a need or concern which they believe needs to be addressed. Often times before they make an appointment to see the doctor, people will do their own home work to see if a doctor’s appoint is really necessary. Many of us…
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