For years, patients have been hearing the same message from the health-care industry: Get involved.
They’re told they need to do more to monitor their chronic conditions. They are directed to be more active in deciding what treatments to have, or whether to treat a condition at all.
That has proved easier said than done. For some people, it’s a matter of feeling intimidated: Better to let the doctors decide. Some are overwhelmed by the choices they have to make about their care, which seem to get more complex every year. At the same time, many doctors are reluctant to change old ways of working.
Now researchers and health-care providers say they’re at last figuring out how to untie this doctor-knows-best knot and get patients to take charge of their own health. They’re designing decision aids, for instance, that walk patients through different options, translating complicated medical jargon and statistics about risk into simple language and visual aids. They’re offering patients full access to their own medical records, including their doctor’s notes about them. And they’re training doctors to help guide patients to make informed choices.
Read Laura Landro’s article here.