Posted 18th Apr 2012 in Consumer Engagement

Nurse explaining xray MB27789

A recent Commonwealth Fund study found that patients who were more involved in their healthcare had a more positive experience of their care and reported fewer errors.

The study draws its information from the 2011 Commonwealth Fund Survey, which included more than 18,000 adults with complex health issues in 11 countries. Its results confirm the benefit of patients taking a more active role in their own health care, for example, through improved understanding of their treatment options and shared decision making.

The level of consumer engagement in each country was assessed from analysing responses about whether the doctor spent enough time with patients, explains things in a way that is easy to understand, and encourages questions.

Key findings included:

  • In the top five countries at least two out of three patients reported positive care interactions.
  • In seven of the 11 countries patients with below-average incomes were less likely to have been engaged by their regular doctor.
  • Shared decision making with specialists varied considerably between countries.
  • In all countries, patients reporting positive communication and engagement with their regular doctor were more likely to rate the quality of care they received more highly.
  • Engaged patients were also less likely to report an error and had more positive views of the health system.

The study noted that all countries could make improvements in consumer engagement. However the UK and Switzerland stood out as having achieved the most in this area and concluded that their high performance was due in part to their having the highest share of patients with ‘medical homes’ – primary care providers who know their patients’ histories and co-ordinate overall care.

The study concluded that patients who are engaged in their own health care receive higher-quality care, experience fewer medical errors, and have more positive views of the health system.

Click here for the full article.

Sidebar