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Patients aren’t ‘equal partners’

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Is it time to give the phrase “patient engagement” a rest?

Betsy Weaver writes in MedCity News that the phrase too often is “used to mean involving a patient as an ‘equal partner’ in his or her care—or, worse, letting the patient take the lead! What does that really mean and who wants that?!”

“As patients, we choose our doctors and nurses because they have something we don’t: expertise, experience and perspective. Sure, we need to take some responsibility in helping our healthcare professionals help us—by following their instructions, taking our meds as directed, getting regular health checkups and striving to live healthier lives. And we need to learn from them what are appropriate expectations—for example, for pain or how to manage our care after discharge. Beyond that, we have jobs of our own … we don’t want or need theirs!”

“What patient engagement should mean is two-way communication engaging patients throughout the care continuum—before anything happens, during an episode of care and after their discharge from the hospital.”


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