Reforms,especially relating to health care are not created in a day and not by a handful of people. The entire population needs to contribute.
Health care is like a weighing balance with the patient and the doctor being the weighing platforms. A good and effective treatment can be delivered only if both are equally contributing and responsible to make it happen. The central part is the recognition that patients and clinicians bring different, but equally important, knowledge and expertise to the process.
It is generally believed that a submissive patient is the best, but is it really so? A submissive “all agreeing” patient is not only damaging to themselves but also to the doctor and the community as a whole. If everyone stops questioning, nobody will care to find the answers. And if there are no answers to unknown doubts, some things will always remain a mystery.
Never thought that you were that important in health care system? There are reasons for that, it might range from sheer laziness that “the doctor knows the best” to the fear that “what if the doctor feels offended and refuses to treat me”. But it might not all be your fault, the traditional paternalism and the persistence and assertiveness of health institutions fan this fear.
Another reason why neither the patient actively seeks involvement nor does the health care provider is because patient involvement is “challenging”. It challenges orthodoxies, vested interests and the established ways of doing things. It poses a fundamental cultural and behavioral challenge to our systems of health and social care.
Involving people is not one ‘thing’, and there is not a single string that policy-makers, health care providers and citizens need to pull to make it happen. Rather, there is a range of approaches. With the involvement of different philosophies, perspectives, psychologies, awareness and technologies this can be made into a reality.
People are not as involved as they would want to be in decisions about health and care, yet when they are involved, decisions are better, health and health outcomes improve, and resources are allocated more efficiently.
*Reference “People in control of their own health and care”
Next on this series I will be discussing about “Contribution Towards Greater Involvement”