Including patients in the diagnosis and therapy process is considered an essential part of modern health care. There is good evidence that high-quality chronic illness care is characterized by productive interactions between practice teams and patients and that the aforementioned interactions are more likely to be productive if patients are active, informed participants in their care. Allowing patients to make their own decision about medical care has a positive influence on the patients’ well-being and self-esteem. However, this requires patient not only wanting to participate but also being able to participate at the decision-making process, for which he needs help and information from medical professions as well as specific personal prerequisites.
In our work package on patient involvement we therefore will take a look at how patient involvement is being incorporated as a part of integrated care practices. For this, we will take a look at both the patients and the health professionals’ perspective about preferences and prerequisites for the involvement of patients in the care process.
Based on the analysis of published literature, we identified three important parts of patient involvement:
- a shared decision making process
- enabling the patient to self-manage his condition and
- a suitable education process in order to provide the necessary knowledge and tools to adequately manage this condition.
Based on this, we aim to identify preferences and prerequisites for each of these topics from both the patients and the health professionals’ viewpoint. For this, we use two questionnaires (API and SDQ) as well as several focus groups and expert interviews for a better understanding on these topics.
We hope to get a better understanding of the preferences of patients about the process of getting involved into health care on all three identified levels.
At this point, we have begun to analyze the result from the two questionnaires. First results are promising but seem to indicate that several factors are influencing the willingness of patients to involve themselves in a shared decision making process. The finding from the questionnaires will be incorporated in our focus groups which will be held in February.
Additionally, we will take a look at the health professionals’ view on how they approach the involvement of patient into the health care process and which prerequisites they deem important for a successful involvement of a patient.
The results of our research will help decision and policy makers to develop frameworks on how to approach the involvement of patients based on the specific requirements to be found in different care settings and health care systems.
For more information on this work please contact:
SINTEF Health Services Research