The Patient Has Never Been Trained to Be One
Patient engagement has become a really big endeavor, an ever-expanding business opportunity. Health outcomes, treatment adherence, revenue growth, cost containment, etc. have all been associated with patient engagement. At Self Care Catalysts, in our years of interaction with patients to understand their health journey, there is one dimension that most have missed - the aspect of patient preparation.
Who has ever been trained to be a patient? Upon diagnosis, they are shocked, confused, unprepared for the complexity of care and the healthcare system and yet their interactions with providers, physicians and the healthcare system are mostly in increments of 10 to 15 minutes, spread across months of navigating the system. And yet, we expect much from them. They are expected to comply with all medications, follow through all lab tests, track their symptoms, be well and press on with their care at home. At the end of all these, we expect the patients to be engaged!
I think we're missing the point... patient preparation is critical. A prepared patient has better chances of being more engaged. Physicians and other health care providers received years of training and development but patients never had this "training and on-boarding" opportunity.
It's a process... for them to be engaged, to be committed, they need to build confidence to face the challenges and uncertainties of managing their illness.