Characteristics of an Empowered Patient

An empowered person is able to actively participate in the management of their health.

An empowered activated patient:

  • Understands their health condition and its effect on their body.
  • Feels able to participate in decision-making with their healthcare professionals
  • Feels able to make informed choices about treatment.
  • Understands the need to make necessary changes to their lifestyle for managing their condition.
  • Able to challenge and ask questions of the healthcare professionals providing their care.
  • Takes responsibility for their health and actively seeks care only when necessary
  • Actively seeks out, evaluates and makes use of information

Empowered patients will be able to better understand how to navigate the many players in the healthcare system, including family, physicians, health insurers, healthcare regulators, pharmacists. And when they feel unsure about where to go, or what to do next, they will feel more confident to ask for the information they need.

As an empowered patient, it is likely that they feel confident in following the jointly agreed decisions they have made with their healthcare providers, this leads to an improved patient experience.

Not every patient is capable, or wants to make decisions about their health, and not all patients have the skills to interpret the choices and instructions formulated by the health care provider.

Healthcare providers need to take the psychological wellbeing and the person’s ability to take responsibility for their health into consideration when involving the patient in making choices in the treatment and management of their long term health condition.

With thanks to ENOPE (Patient Empowerment. Living with Chronic Disease)

“Part of a series of short discussion topics on different aspects of self-management and patient empowerment written by ENOPE members for the 1st European conference on patient empowerment (ENOPE)”