3 Ways to Increase Patient Involvement

By Karin Krisher

We patients like to think our doctors have every answer. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just completely rely on an authority to take care of our health? Wouldn’t it be nice to pay attention to just what they tell us, and not have to form any questions of our own?

dr-patient-involvementOf course it would. It would be nice, and it would be lazy. Lack of patient involvement in their personal care is simply a fact of the medical profession. DaVinci has news: Docs, it’s OK to expect more from your patients. Patients, it’s OK to expect more from yourselves. And it’s not even that hard to achieve.

How to Increase Patient Involvement And Encourage Results

Patient involvement is largely dependent on communication. With more healthcare professionals gaining education in that area, patient involvement is easier to achieve than ever. Plus, with the advent of the Internet came faster and more frequent communication possibilities, so the time is nigh for reaching out.

And for patients, the time is nigh for reaching…in. Here are three steps to encourage them to do so:

1. Set the Stage

dr-patient-involvement-2In any face-to-face appointment with your patients, discuss how important it is for them to stay involved in their care, through keeping regular appointments, focusing on health factors in between appointments, and using the tools you have at hand (like social networks or e-mail) to communicate.

2. Give Them Value. 

Your patients should feel valuable. They are indispensable players in their own care, and they should know so, but don’t always hear it. Tell your patients how valuable their feedback is to your decision making. Simply encouraging them to offer feedback will keep them in tune with their bodies and their healthcare needs, because they’ll be keeping tabs and forming questions more often. Encourage involvement by showing them that value, too.  Actually take the feedback into consideration. Listen first, ask questions later.

3. Provide Added Value.

By cementing a personal relationship with your professional client (your patient), you’ll be giving them something they can’t get just anywhere. Which means they’ll trust your need for their involvement, and want to participate more. Some simple ways to add value to your practice: Be their supplement provider. Be their newsletter distributor. Be their online resource. If your patients need information, provide it, through one avenue or the next. Facebook is a great resource for quick questions about nutrients, for example.

Patients, these three tips can work for you, too. Tell your practitioner you’d like to be more involved in your own health. (That’s setting the stage.) Together, you can brainstorm a list of ways your doctor can help you, and a list of ways you can help yourself. (That’s providing value to you both!)

Do you have experience in encouraging patients to become more involved? Or do you have experience becoming more involved in your own care? Share your story on our Facebook page!