Patients want to be engaged in their healthcare decision-making process and are increasingly asking for more responsive, open and transparent healthcare. Patients who are engaged as decision-makers in their care tend to be healthier and have better outcomes.
Patient engagement increases the mutual accountability between the patients and their healthcare providers.
Just Ask Campaign – Denmark
The Danish Society for Patient Safety with TrygFonden has developed The Patient Handbook, which is a written guide to hospital care that is designed to facilitate patient and family involvement. An estimated 10 percent of all households in Denmark has a copy of the handbook.
The Society has also transformed the handbook into question prompts for patients to ask their providers (Just Ask) online, on cell phones and in a paper format.
The site allows patients to choose specific questions, add their own, and make suggestions for others to use, and then print out the list of their questions.
A study has shown that 86 percent of the citizens that have received and used Just Ask in their contact with health care providers had an improved dialogue and asked more questions.
The Danish Society for Patient Safety also uses innovative community outreach strategies to initiate conversations with people about how to be more effective partners in their healthcare.
Patient First Ambassadors – Australia
Western Australia’s Patient First Ambassadors were introduced to change how patients saw their role and create a step-change in people’s health literacy. Volunteer patients were recruited and trained to engage with patients in hospital outpatient departments – discussing informed consent, making decisions, privacy and managing medications with them. They were equipped with a Patient First Handbook to distribute to patients, which also contained information on patient rights, shared decision making, understanding the risks of treatment, staying safe in the hospital and medication safety.
Scaling Up Shared Decision Making – USA
The Health Decision Sciences Centre at Massachusetts General Hospital is seeking to inform patients about the risks and benefits of various treatment options and help them come to a ‘shared decision’ with their medical team.
A process has been developed whereby doctors in primary and secondary care get hands-on training with 35 decision aids for common conditions, which they can access through the patient electronic medical record.
The clinician is then able to ‘prescribe’ an appropriate information tool for the patient before an important decision. This is then noted on the patient’s medical record for future follow-up.
A training program is delivered to clinicians to teach them about the benefits of the decision aids and how to use them, in order to try and normalize their use.
The center works with 15 primary care practices (covering 200,000 people) and 120 hospital doctors per year. 16,000 of the prescriptions have been ordered to date, with initial results from an evaluation showing strong take-up and increased patient satisfaction.
- Improving quality and safety through partnerships with patients and consumers, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality of Healthcare report patient-centered care.