You may have heard the term “patient engagement” over the years. But what does it really mean? Well, depending on who you talk to, you get different answers. I like to define “patient engagement” like this: being an active participate in your own healthcare, as opposed to being a passive recipient.
I’ve briefly written about this topic a bit in an article on telehealth, but that article was really geared towards clinicians trying to provide care, rather than patients trying to figure out what to look for in their treatment.
I recently did a brief interview with the good folks over at The Power of the Patient Project on this very topic. The video is below:
What do look for as a patient
So, if you’re trying to take charge of your own healthcare, what should you look for in the clinicians and organizations that are providing you care?
First off, as I mentioned in the video, you should really try to find clinicians & organizations that take a biopsychosocial approach to treatment. Your diagnosis, injury, or situation has more factors at play that just your symptoms.
Each person is unique, and you are no exception. You should prioritize finding a clinician & organization that takes the time to see you as the unique individual that you are, and not some diagnosis out or a textbook (or worse, just a number on a spreadsheet).
Second, you should look for a clinician that allows you to take an active role in developing your treatment plan. You want to be able to include your own personal goals for treatment. It may be something like being able to throw the ball in the backyard with your children (or grandchildren) without pain. Or, it may be something more complex like returning to your work or a hobby (like wood-working or underwater basket-weaving). Whatever your personal goals for treatment, you should inform your clinician about them so that they can be incorporated into your personalized treatment plan.
And lastly, the you should look for a clinician or clinic that lets you take an active role in the actual treatment you receive. This really means that you should try to be an active participant in treatment, rather than a passive recipient. For example, manual therapy is great, and it can relieve pain and increase motion. But it shouldn’t be the only treatment you receive. You may benefit from some of those passive treatments, but they should always be added with active treatments like exercises, activities, and other self-management techniques. I mean, you want to learn how to handle your pain on your own instead of having to come in to therapy for the rest of your life, right?
Follow those three guidelines when trying to find a clinician, and you’ll find that your treatment is more effective, provides longer-lasting benefits, and empowers you to become the driver of your own healthcare.
That’s it for now. Talk soon,