How Important Is It to Have an Engaged Patient Today?

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I think it's important I think when it happens it's terrific. I think that if a patient has a doctor who doesn't like the patient being engaged, that patient should find a different doctor. That said, I think building our health care system on the backs of the expectation of the patients will be that engaged and knowledgeable and in my area patient safety, there is another twist on the scene which is the patient will be responsible for protecting him or herself and therefore some version of hyper-vigilance.

I get that, my mother had surgery in Florida last year and I slept on a cot by her side for a couple of days and this was a cot that would have been rejected by every youth hospital I've ever stayed in my life. As a patient or patient's family member, I wanted to be there and wanted to be engaged and felt that I needed to be there to protect her.

But not all patients will be like that, not all patients would want to be like that, not all families will be capable being like that, have the resources, have the time. So I don't we can build the system on the backs of the expectation that you are going to have an engaged patient and family, I think when you have it, it's magical.

I think doctors have to, we have to have our acts together, so that when an engaged patient or family comes in we welcome it, we welcome the questions, we see them as partners, not every doctor is like that, but we are increasingly trying to train our new graduates to be like that.I think there is another nuance here which is there is a level of engagement for patients that's healthy and productive, and there is a level that actually can get in the patients on way, and that is periodically walk into a patient's room and there is it feels a little bit like an adversarial relationship.

Almost like I've walked into the junk yard and the dog has my ankle and the skeptisism that I'm acting on the patient's behalf and do you really know what you're talking about? Is the sub text. Again I can understand why a patient or family would feel that way, but doctors and nurses are human too and if we are feeling like do I really want to go into this room or do I need to fortify myself with another cup of coffee before I'm ready to deal with this? That's probably not going to be good before the patient or the family member.

So try to figure out the right way to calibrate this, I think it is important, but absolutely if I were a patient or family member of a patient I would want be engaged, I will be want to be knowledgeable. And one of the key factors that I will think about in choosing a doctor or an health care system is that they accept that and they like that and they see that as being completely compatible with good doctoring.