What Does It Mean to Empower a Patient?

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I started as a physical therapist then did that for 10 years, and so part of that was always trying to empower patients to help them do their home programs and help them let their bodies and facilitate their bodies healing themselves et cetera, before I went into orthopedic surgery and, so I have a prospective of trying to help patients be empowered, now we have patients who first of all in generation that's younger than myself by far, they're used to having information at their finger tips, and that information helps them make choices and they used to that in variety of different areas, downloading music, choosing games, choosing entertainment or even if they want to solve something, they instantly didn't want to know the definition of something, so they are used to having instant access to information.

Even in generations beyond them, that are older than them, there's a big momentum now, in patients looking stuff up themselves, which I think is really good. And I like it when a patient comes to me with things that they've learnt from the internet. There's a lot of misinformation, there's a lot of unevenness in the quality of information, but there's an initiative there that's driven by the patient, and I think that's always to good sign in patients taking ownership of their health and wellness.

They also have the ability now to voice their concerns in a way that we didn't before. You can generate tens of thousands of opinions to thought leaders or policy makers now over night, that we couldn't do before. So they can influence things like mandating that patients get an after visit summary or they get access to my chart or whatever they mechanism is, so there are several forces at work.

I'm encouraging of patient empowerment, I think what we need to do is sort out what information is good, I often guide patients to certain websites, and we also need to help them put it in context. So we're trying to learn from the provider side. What information is helpful to patients? If they ask for all of it, we can certainly give it to them, but some of it is really out of context and what's happening now is patients are able to see their labs but that immediately generates a phone call because the context is missing.