Empowered patients contribute to healthcare improvement

As highlighted by the EHCI 2013 report, the gap between patients and professionals is diminishing: patient rights legislation and involvement in policy-making has become standard in Europe. Year by year healthcare systems – often a bit reluctant – open for patient engagement, as second opinion, access to own medical record etc become tools for empowerment.

The demand for choice in healthcare as well as in other parts of modern society is gradually implemented as web-services invite patients to compare the quality of medical services and pharmaceuticals, making healthcare navigation much easier than before.

Among the user-friendly systems, making booking of appointments easy, you find “Internet-mature” UK, Denmark and Sweden but also small front-runners such as Estonia, Croatia and Lithuania, understanding the potential dynamics of e-Health. (Graph from the EHCI 2013 report.)

A new phase now illustrated by EHCI and other HCP Indices is about e-Health, facilitating booking of
doctor appointments etc to become as simple and user-friendly as ordering a home-delivery pizza.
This development is far from uncontroversial, as easy access to healthcare in some cultures is still looked upon as accepting immoral overconsumption of something that should remain strictly rationed, while in other countries the family doctor is regarded the only really acceptable information channel, with the Internet a vulgar, third-class solution.

Regardless of this, the future is clear: patients and consumers will expect better information, building knowledge to make informed decisions in a mutually rewarding transformation of healthcare towards interaction for value-added care. The EHCI top performers are on their way, understanding that dedicated individuals are an enormous asset, not a threat to professionalism or a nuisance as “good, old” routines are questioned and turned upside down.

Let the patients in – the constructive way to fight austerity and crisis!

Please feel free to use this material, referring to the source: Euro Health Consumer Index 2013.