• 16May

    Actions to scale up patient empowerment identified in new APPG report

    The All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health has launched a new report on patient empowerment.

    ‘Patient empowerment: for better quality, more sustainable health services globally’ recommends four actions for policy and practice, to step up to the scale of Government’s “dramatically better” ambition for patient empowerment:

    1. Make empowering individuals in their own care a top political priority – and  align incentives for a whole-system effort across the health and care sectors
    2. Revive the revolution in decision support tools as part of a systematic drive on shared decision making led by government, the NHS and professional bodies
    3. Give patients co-ownership of their records, not just access
    4. Encourage patients to ask more questions about their care, through a national campaign targeted at people with long-term conditions and greater access to structured education on self-management.

    The result of a partnership by six All Party Parliamentary Groups, this report takes a global perspective on how to empower patients to play a more active role in their care. Drawing lessons from over 100 innovative case studies submitted to the review, it outlines how much the UK has to learn from high, middle and low income countries – and how these lessons should be applied.

    At the same time, the report also highlights the UK’s strengths, its important role historically in supporting the global patient empowerment agenda, and how it can continue to play a leading role internationally.

    Underlying the whole report is the message that giving renewed emphasis and investment to patient empowerment at every level will help improve quality and make health systems more sustainable.

    The report includes details of overseas examples of patient empowerment initiatives including:

    • ‘Scaling up share decision making’ from the Health Sciences Centre at Massachusetts General Hospital
    • Participatory women’s groups in Bagladesh, Nepal, India and Malawi
    • ‘Respectful maternity care’ from Nepal and Nigeria
    • Care Companion Project in India
    • Patient held records, Denmark and Malawi
    • Just Ask Campaign, Denmark
    • TASO (HIV project), Uganda
    • Patient First Ambassadors, Australia

    Through examining these projects the report identified a clear message that by giving patients the opportunity to expand their role –  and equipping them to do so – fundamentally new models  of care are possible.

    The selected examples are presented  in four broad categories: self-care, patients as experts, shared decisions and choice.

    The report identifies some of the key lessons from the overseas examples as:

    • To see patients and the community as assets, rather  than just sources of need
    • To adapt approaches to local contexts, and experiment
    • To change patient and professional attitudes  by working from the top-down and bottom-up
    • To focus on equipping patients with new skills and tools, rather than just ‘informing’ them

    The full report can be read here