Through blogs and comments, patients and experts explore what it takes to find good health care and make the most of it.

Participate in My Care? Room for Improvement


article image
Follow us on Facebook

The Center for Advancing Health, which I direct, just released A Snapshot of People's Engagement in Their Health Care, a study that found that most of us do relatively little to participate in our health care.

To assess our current level of engagement in care, CFAH searched 31 national surveys sponsored by the government, foundations and private organizations to locate data on the specific behaviors that each of us must do in order to effectively participate in our care. For example, I have to make sure that my medical information is conveyed to my various doctors and institutions. I have to ask questions of my doctor when the next steps I have to take are not clear. And I have to talk about recommended tests and treatments with my doctor to make the right choice for me.

For the vast majority of engagement behaviors like this for which data were found, about one-third of us do them regularly, about one-third of us do them occasionally and one-third of us don't do them at all.

While the lack of resources, insurance coverage, low literacy levels and illness present real barriers to participation for some us, lack of engagement is far too common among those who face none of them.

Recently passed health care reform promises to increase our access to care, but without our active, knowledgeable participation from both those of us who are currently insured or newly insured ' that reform will yield only sporadic improvements.

While each of us along with our caregivers and loved ones must take on these responsibilities if we are to benefit optimally from our health care, we cannot do so without the cooperation of every stakeholder in the health care enterprise.

Take a look at the report and comment here.

More Blog Posts by Jessie Gruman

author bio

Jessie C. Gruman, PhD, was founder and president of the Center for Advancing Health from 1992 until her death in July 2014. Her experiences as a patient — having been diagnosed with five life-threatening illnesses — informed her perspective as an author, advocate and lead contributor to the Prepared Patient Blog. Her book, AfterShock, helps patients and caregivers navigate their way through the health care system following a serious or life-threatening diagnosis. The free app, AfterShock: Facing a Serious Diagnosis, offers a pocket guide based on the book. | More about Jessie Gruman

Tags for this article:
Patient Engagement   Jessie Gruman   Participate in your Treatment   Inside Healthcare  

Comments on this post
Please note: CFAH reserves the right to moderate all comments posted to the Prepared Patient® Blog. Any inappropriate postings will be removed.

Star says
May 24, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Over at the NYT, we have been flailing about like we do on the subject of taking or not taking prescriptions. I maintain that patients have the right to decide on meds, some docs say people like me are "crackpots" who shouldn't even bother to darken their doors. I think there is an all or nothing thing developing--do everything a doctor says or don't bother to seek medical attention. Doctors are so busy, they study so long, they get so little in reimbursement, the least a patient can do is keep it short and follow orders. Not all docs feel this way--check the comments on the above--but some do. Yet, they WANT you to take charge when it comes to some draconian calorie-restricting diet or taking statins (which do not agree with everyone), and exercising and eating veggies. I would like to see a middle ground--get a doctor's advice, discuss.