Empowering the patient

old-and-young-hands-clasped “Patients as consumers have the right to make their own choices and the ability to act upon them” (Wikipedia – The free encyclopedia)

The outcome of successful service depends on empowering the patient. The patient shall be considered an equal member of the health care team. It is a responsibility of the care providers to provide complete information and communicate with the patient regarding diagnoses, treatment and procedures. Such relations would help towards smooth and successful outcomes. It is generally believed in the management community that consumers (patients) are very powerful in defining relationships and too often such relationships favour the provision of services and the provider.

There are two important and key processes for empowering patients. First, provision of information and then communication, consultation and partnership. In order to do so we as healthcare providers need to first understand and acknowledge that patients do have some rights and of course, some responsibilities too. It is equally important to ensure that patients understand the same as well. Once the patient and the provider are in harmony on these issues, health care provision will have very good outcomes with the best of satisfaction. Such harmony is the hardest to achieve.

Patients should have easy access to information kept about them in the hospital and be helped to understand it. In addition hospital staff shall be empowered to share such information and help the patients and family understand them. Patients should also be given information about the treatment planed for them and the possible side-effects and/or other risks that may result from such treatment. The choice of a patient to decline or refuse any treatment shall also be respected without prejudice and the patient shall not be deprived of their access to any other service offered by the institution as a result. Thus, provision of proper and complete information gives the patient a sense of their participation in care and increases their confidence in the professionals as well as the institution.

The first step to developing such harmony is to start informing the patients of their rights and responsibilities when seeking care. In addition an environment conducive to hear their views and use them is most critical for improved outcome in service.

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3 Comments on "Empowering the patient"

  1. Anonymous
    08/06/2009 at 13:40 Permalink

    This is a very refreshing and balanced view and I am glad to know that it’s held by the managing director of one of the main hospitals in Male’. I sincerely hope that we will see such a change in the attitude of health service providers towards the patients, atleast in ADK given that you are there to make this change. As for IGMH, all I can say is that someone needs to teach them what “service with a smile” means!!! And I think all hospitals and service providers need to understand that people in the ward deserve just as much respect and care as those in VIP rooms!!! Cause the last time I checked the poor don’t hurt or feel pain any less than the rich!!! Nobody wants to be in a hospital if they can help it, so it would be just so nice if people who are there to care for the patients can be more sympathetic and understanding towards the needs and feelings of patients. Having said that patients who are rude and try to take advantage of kindness should be put in their place immediately!!! So Afaal keep up the good work you are doing and let ADK be an example that we can all be proud of.

  2. Simon
    09/06/2009 at 02:46 Permalink

    Afaal,
    Good post. More like a note-to-self isn’t it? How things ought to be but never in reality.

    ps.That photo of dismembered old hand is freaky!

  3. afaal
    09/06/2009 at 09:20 Permalink

    Simon
    I agree with you! However, it is always important that someone tries yeah? It will take ages to change a culture of centuries. I find it hard to make people understand this and also get a lot of criticism for taking this view from many people.

    Although it may not be totally perfect, I am determined to work on it!

    Cheers!

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