'Let Patients Help' encourages reader to take control of health care
Jenny Englerth, CEO of Family First Health | 08.27.13
Good health is defined and achieved differently by each of us, usually with a focus on lifestyle choices or behavior change, but those focused discussions can leave out the most important contributor to lifelong health — how to be an engaged patient.
‘Let Patients Help,” a patient-engagement handbook, focuses on how to be engaged, empowered, equipped and educated when it comes to your health care.
This summer, I found a simple, yet effective book that provides the tools needed to begin or enhance the road to being an “e-patient.” What is an e-patient, and why would I want to be one?
‘Let Patients Help,” a patient-engagement handbook, is written by e-patient Dave deBronkart. In his book, he describes the evolution of the term, from focusing on electronic patient to include the terms engaged, empowered, equipped and educated.
Regardless of which “e” you choose to focus on, the idea is powerful. You, as the greatest stakeholder in your health and the health of your family, should use all the tools available — many of which can be found on the web — and develop all the skills needed to drive and inform your health and the care you receive.
By sharing his own experience as a cancer survivor, deBronkart points out that these skills can save your life when dealing with a critical injury or illness. However, these skills are just as important when managing your routine interaction with your primary care provider or your child’s pediatrician.
The book contains practical checklists and tools that I know I will reference often in the future or until I perfect my own e-patient skills. But as I reflected on the reading, three points stuck with me and motivated me to embrace the philosophy e-patient Dave promotes:
- Even the very best doctor cannot care as much about my health or the health of my family as I do. I am the ultimate stakeholder, and I need to act like it! The book describes a disengaged patient as “treating health care like a car wash; rolls up the windows, sits back and gets things sprayed on him.” When I recall experiences that felt just like this, the outcome was never optimal. Now I know, I can do better.
Click here for a video of tips on how to become a better e-patient.