Participating in Your Care: the Benefits

A few days ago I posted a link to a review paper looking at the benefits of individuals participating in their healthcare [and] the healthcare decision-making process.

CLICK HERE to read the review piece.

Up until the last decade, the practice of medicine could be described as paternalistic with blind obedience on the part of the patient; however, this is changing as individuals are becoming quite savvy in their knowledge of their illness and their desire to be involved in decisions that impact their day-to-day, their quality of life.

We are witnessing a paradigm shift from paternalism to shared-decision making and the individual will be all the better for it on so many levels.

Patients are active consumers and they are paying healthcare providers to weigh in with their expertise, to guide them, but not to make the final decision. Final decisions belong in the hand of the individual, but the burden is on both parties. The individual patient must do their research while the healthcare provider must make the time to answer questions, provide appropriate information upon which to make decisions, and accept the individual’s decision.

In the aforementioned review, patient participation leads to the “provision of more appropriate and cost-effective services, and ultimately enhanced health outcomes, quality of life, and satisfaction of patients”.

Factors influencing patient participation include everything from patient demographics and disease-related factors to factors related to healthcare providers communication and organizational culture.

Benefits:

  • increased patient satisfaction
  • enhanced quality of life
  • reduced anxiety
  • more direct communications with the provider
  • individual empowerment
  • better individual health
  • increased trust
  • encouragement of independent responsibility

Share-decision making is the wave of the future, and patients who step up and partner with their providers are the beneficiaries. I encourage you to seek our providers who treat you as an equal rather than a subordinate. Know your rights as a patient and be willing to exercise them.

I am blessed with a dream team of a medical team; we are collaborative and we share in every single decision. I recognize this is the exception, not the rule; however, I believe you can build a dream team too if you give yourself to the task.

For further reading on building a dream team, click here and here.

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