Policy recommendations for patient empowerment

A review of global patient empowerment initiatives by six All Party Parliamentary Groups in the UK recommends four actions by government:

  1. Make empowering individuals in their own care a top political priority – and align incentives for a whole-system effort across the health and care sectors
  2. Revive the revolution in decision support tools as part of a systematic drive on shared decision making led by government, the NHS and professional bodies
  3. Give patients co-ownership of their records, not just access
  4. Encourage patients to ask more questions about their care, through a national campaign targeted at people with long-term conditions and greater access to structured education on self-management.

The report, entitled Patient empowerment: for better quality, more sustainable health services globally presents examples from countries rich and poor; each demonstrates that empowering patients is feasible and produces a broad range of benefits. Among them are:

The Care Companion programme at Narayana Hrudayalaya cardiac care hospital in India

While the patient undergoes surgery, the main caregiver receives training (both interactive video and hands-on in the post-operative ward when the patient is in recovery. The caregiver is then certified – following an exam – and supervised working on the ward until the patient is discharged.

Denmark’s national eHealth portal

Since 2003, all citizens have had access and partial editing rights to a central shared individual record. It includes information on their previous treatments and diagnoses, enables them to book appointments with GPs, renew prescriptions, and connect to other patients. Citizens currently visit their health portal an average of seven times per year.