A Deloitte survey shows that patient engagement has increased as more and more patients have taken an active role in managing their health and treatment.
Increased patient engagement has been one of the biggest trends in health care in recent years according to the Survey of U.S. Health Care Consumers, released each year by Deloitte. The 2015 survey showed that more patients are taking an active role in managing their health in three key ways.
First, patients are communicating more with their providers. Many patients want to have a say in their treatments. This involves working with doctors to find a solution, instead of relying solely on the doctor’s decisions. These patients make an effort to partner with their doctors to determine the best plan for their individual situations.
Second, more patients are using technology to actively manage their care. The Internet has allowed patients to access more credible information, connect with their providers, view test results, and take other actions to stay in charge of their care. Google will even direct people who search for any of nearly a thousand different conditions straight to reputable information about symptoms and treatments, according to a TechCrunch article. Many patients also now use trusted medical websites, online patient portals, and other resources to manage their care.
Finally, as the first two points touched on, patients are educating themselves about their conditions, medications, health care costs, and other aspects of their treatments. Fewer patients are relying solely on their doctors for advice, instead seeking outside resources for information. For example, a cancer patient may join support groups to learn how other people manage their symptoms, or they might participate in social media discussion groups to provide advice and encouragement to someone newly diagnosed.
While not every patient has embraced actively managing their health, the Deloitte survey showed that patients who are younger, have pre-existing conditions, or have higher income levels are more likely to be engaged in their treatments. As patients take an active role in their treatments, further studies will be able to determine the correlation between these practices and the long-term health of these patients.