Many patients are often uncertain of how to acquire, process, and understand fundamental healthcare information and services. In many instances, patients may lack the knowledge of their medical condition. Furthermore, the American health care system often overlooks the needs of patients and medical practitioners may not provide sufficient information which patients require in order to make the best decisions about their treatment. More often than not, even if patients have the full set of information about their medical condition, they could lack the confidence in their own decisions due to the overwhelming amount of information being provided to them, resulting in high social costs when poor decisions are being made.
Over the years, research evidence has shown that patients who are more proactive in educating themselves about their medical conditions have led to lower social costs. Hence, numerous public and private health care organizations have utilized various strategies to involve and engage patients to a larger degree to increase patient activation.
One of the strategies adopted by most hospitals is the provision of patient engagement platform to better communicate with the medical practitioners and understand their own medical condition. In 2014, 92% of US adults want to be completely in charge of their medical decisions. Therefore, it is important to increase the health literacy of patients to empower them to make their own medical decisions.
Moreover, in 2014, up to 65% of the doctors in hospitals integrated email or secure messaging into their healthcare treatment system to engage and communicate with patients. This has significantly increased the patients’ health literacy and the patient satisfaction scores of the hospitals. Having effective patient engagement does not entail what people should do for their medical treatment, but rather, enables patient to easily make the right decisions.
As more advanced technology is being integrated into the system and processes, the future outlook of healthcare system is promising to empower patients to make the best medical treatment decisions for themselves, hence reducing the social costs.
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