Way back in 1847, the American Medical Association panel on ethics decreed that “the patient should obey the physician.” There may very well be physicians today – in the era of empowered patients and patient-centred care and those darned Medical Googlers – who glance nostalgically backwards at those good old days.
Let’s consider, for example, the simple clinical interaction of prescribing medication. If you reliably take the daily meds that your doctor has prescribed for your high blood pressure, you’ll feel fine. But if you stop taking your medication, you’ll still feel fine. At least, until you suffer a stroke or heart attack or any number of consequences that have been linked to untreated hypertension.
Those who do obediently take their meds are what doctors call “compliant”. And, oh. Have I mentioned how much many patients like me hate that word? Continue reading →
Here at Ethical Nag World Headquarters, I just figured out that it’s entirely possible I might have the concept of patient engagementall wrong. Until recently, I accepted this basic definition, courtesy of the Center for Advancing Health:(1)
“Patient engagement: actions individuals must take to obtain the greatest benefit from the health care services available to them.”
Sounds good, right? As a heart attack survivor with ongoing cardiac issues, I really liked the idea that a whole bunch of us seem keenly interested in doing whatever it takes to obtain the greatest benefit from our health care services. In fact, many folks far above my pay grade maintain that engaged patients may just represent the future game changers of health care. Health IT strategy consultant Leonard Kish, for example, wrote in August that if patient engagement were a drug, it would be “the blockbuster drug of the century – and malpractice not to use it.”