About Patient Empowerment
Due to increasing healthcare systems complexities, paired with the increasing proportion of chronic diseases patients and other factors, clearly growing need for an all-round well-coordinated health system.
Since the patient is viewed as the most important member of the healthcare team, it is necessary to engage patients in all their health-related decisions. However, patients are still struggling to get the support they need to become equal partners in care. To make real progress, we need to make patient empowerment a priority.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines empowerment as “a process through which people gain greater control over decisions and actions affecting their health".
In Saudi Arabia, the concept of Patient Empowerment started to build, spread, improve and gain more attention through several regulators and governmental entities. Therefore, the Saudi Patient Safety Center is working on familiarizing the society with patient empowerment concept.
Why is patient empowerment important?
- Meaningful engagement with patients helps them understand and participate in their care more proactively.
- It improves treatment compliance and adherence, meaning patients end up getting healthy and as a result, they are more satisfied with their health provider.
- Research shows that patients who take a part in decisions related to their healthcare are more likely to have better outcomes.
- It isn't just about health outcomes, patient empowerment also improves engagement between providers and patients, encouraging better communication which leads to limiting the chances of misdiagnosis, and reduced number of hospital visits.
- Empowering patients will ensure that they engage better with their providers. This means they are likely to trust their providers more.
How to be an active patient?
- Understand your own health condition and its effect on your body.
- Be able to participate in decision-making with your healthcare professionals.
- Be able to make informed choices about treatment.
- Understand the need to make necessary changes in your lifestyle for managing your condition.
- Be able to converse and ask questions to the healthcare professionals providing their care.
- Be able to take responsibility for your health and actively seek care only when necessary.
- Actively seek out, evaluate and make use of information.
Patient Empowerment in SPSC
The Saudi Patient Safety Center has developed a specialized team in patient empowerment that believes patient have the right to be engaged and to be part of the decision-making process in their disease journey.
Patient Empowerment Team is working on empowering, educating, enabling and engaging patients and their family members to understand their rights and roles, so they take control of their health condition. Some tools used to achieve these desired objectives are:
- Initiating patient empowerment and engagement related programs.
- Participating in community events.
- Building health educational materials.
- Engage patients in building and implementing patient safety programs.
- To reach the widest range of audience, they are using multiple channels including:
- Interpersonal communication: through community events.
- Audiovisual media: TV, Radio.
- Social Media: YouTube, Twitter, Instagram.
- SPSC website.