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Patient empowerment

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Patient empowerment

The patient empowerment concept, a recent outgrowth of the natural health movement, asserts that to be truly healthy, people must bring about changes in their social situations and in the environment that influences their lives, not only in their personal behavior.

According to advocates of the natural health movement, the following are key tenets of patient empowerment:

  • Patients cannot be forced to follow a lifestyle dictated by others.
  • Preventive medicine requires patient empowerment for it to be effective.
  • Patients as consumers have the right to make their own choices and the ability to act on them.


An empowered patient is someone who takes an active role in the decisions made about his or her own healthcare. That empowerment requires a patient to take responsibility for aspects of care such as respectful communications with one's doctors and other providers, patient safety, evidence gathering, smart consumerism (making care cost decisions in the United States), shared decision-making and more.[1]

To ease patients’ empowerment, different countries have made laws and run multiple campaigns to raise awareness of these matters. For example, the French Act of 2 March 2002 aims for a ‘‘health democracy’’ in which patients’ rights and responsibilities are revisited, and which gives patients an opportunity to take control of their health. Similar enactments have been passed in countries such as Croatia, Hungary and the Catalan region. The same year, the UK passed The Penalty Charge for Patients to remind them of their responsibility in healthcare.7 In 2009, British and Australian campaigns were launched to highlight the costs of unhealthy lifestyles and the need for a culture of responsibility.5,25 The European Union took this issue seriously26 and since 2005, has regularly reviewed the question of patients’ rights through various policies with the cooperation of the World Health Organisation.6 Various Medical Associations have also followed the path of patients’ empowerment through different Bill of Rights or Declarations.[2]

See also

References

External links

  • Moynihan R, Smith R. PMID 11950716
  • Patient Power LLC U.S. leader in online audio and video programs for patients hosted by Andrew Schorr, a medical journalist and 14-year leukemia survivor. Patient Power's reliable resources connect, educate, and empower patients to take a proactive role in their healthcare.
  • You Bet Your Life! The 10 Mistakes Every Patient Makes (How to Fix Them to Get the Health Care You Deserve).
  • EUPATI, the European Patients' Academy on Therapeutic Innovation, educates patient advocates and the lay public about processes in clinical trials, risk/benefit assessment, health technology assessment and patient participation in research
  • About.com Patient Empowerment, About.com's Guide to Patient Empowerment
  • LAUR A., Patients’ responsibilities for their health, Medical Legal Journal, September 2013 vol. 81 no. 3 119-123, http://mlj.sagepub.com/content/81/3/119.full
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