Patient Engagement: How Can It Move Health Care Forward?

Patient EngagementOn March 25, 2014, a TEDMed Google+ Hangout was held on the top five health myths and why they continue to exist.  As MedCity News correspondent, Stephanie Baum points out, an interesting aspect of that discussion is the patient-physician interaction and how it can perpetuate or dispel those myths. Building more trust between clinicians and their clients is essential for improved patient engagement and dissemination of accurate medical information.  Ms. Baum goes on to detail five steps that could be used to accomplish that end.  These include:  shared decision-making; understanding medical limits; refraining from the use of medical jargon during consultations.  The last two factors involve the Internet, specifically the integration and limitations of information gleaned from the Internet.  The article cautions against over-reliance on the Internet given the sheer volume and speed at which that information reaches an audience and often before it has been verified.

But then there are the incidences of collaboration between clients and providers that advance health care in extraordinary ways.  A prime example is discussed in another TED talk from Tal Golesworthy. He and his cardiologist created a less invasive surgical treatment for aortic dilation. The solution significantly reduced the length of surgery and eliminated the need for post-surgical anti-coagulation treatment. Nonetheless, the multidisciplinary team, including Golesworthy who is a process engineer, had to overcome issues, including setting aside discipline specific jargon and overcoming institutional, financial and bureaucratic barriers.  Instead, they came up with a unique and economical solution based on the team’s existing knowledge bases, including the patient’s own.  Their work has exponentially increased the potential for successful outcomes and reduced surgical complications.

As patient engagement is key to successful outcomes, and since that engagement increasingly begins with an Internet search, how do we bring about more collaborations like the one above without encouraging self-diagnosis and treatment?  Leave a comment on our Facebook page.  If you are a rehabilitation professional seeking a patient-centric employment opportunity contact the Centra Team today at 800 535 0076 or download our mobile app.

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