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Why Is Patient Empowerment Important?

6 minute read | 16/01/2024

Why Is Patient Empowerment Important?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to patient care, so patient empowerment is important for delivering a better healthcare experience. From driving medical outcomes to improving a patient’s time in hospital, supporting patient empowerment has various benefits for healthcare professionals and patients.

In this blog, we discuss why patient empowerment is so crucial for transforming healthcare.


What Is Patient Empowerment?

Patient empowerment allows patients to take control over the decisions and actions regarding their healthcare. For patient empowerment to truly be implemented, patients must be educated at the first point of contact to understand everything they need to know about their condition. 

Empowered patients have a greater understanding of how to navigate the healthcare system. With this knowledge, they can confidently ask for the information they need. They will also develop self-awareness and become an equal partner in their healthcare with their doctor.

After gaining vital knowledge about their condition from their doctor, other tools, such as digital platforms, can be used to develop their knowledge.

Information sharing is crucial to patient empowerment, and research suggests that health outcomes are better in patients who are more involved in decisions about their treatment

As patients understand more about their illness, they can actively take steps at home to aid their recovery, potentially reducing repeat hospital visits and lowering further costs. 

Although opinions vary on whether or not digital literacy is essential to support patient empowerment, many healthcare professionals believe it’s an absolute requirement for patients to be able to find accurate, reliable information. 

Patient empowerment is more than enabling patients to assert greater control over their healthcare. It allows a more collaborative relationship, where doctors and patients can collaborate to decide on the most appropriate care pathway and treatments.


How Does Patient Empowerment Drive Medical Outcomes and Lower Costs?

When empowered, patients become more involved in their healthcare, gaining vital understanding and knowledge to make informed decisions. With this knowledge, doctors and patients will be on the same page, improving communication and the doctor-patient relationship. 

This drives positive medical outcomes and lowers costs, decreasing any patient confusion concerning their condition. 

Shared decision-making leads to choices that better reflect a patient's preference, resulting in more favourable health outcomes, including less anxiety, quicker recovery and increased compliance with treatment regimes. The Aqua programme has demonstrated this in cases where teams have undertaken shared decision-making with their patients. 

As a result, they found improvements in health indicators such as better blood glucose in diabetes patients, shorter length of stay in hospital, fewer patients not attending health appointments and fewer complaints.

Simply diagnosing, treating and moving on to the next patient may seem like the most efficient way to implement healthcare, but encouraging patients to engage in self-care is much more effective. 

As patients grow confident in self-care, they become less dependent on the NHS, giving staff time to spend with other patients. It’s all part of a growing self-care movement focusing on supporting people to look after their own physical and mental health. 

This, in turn, will drive positive medical outcomes and lower costs as people break the cycle of dependency.


Why Implement Patient Empowerment?

There’s a variety of obstacles that stand in the way of medical practitioners providing the care they want. Appointment delays, budget restraints, handwritten errors and limited staff are common issues within the healthcare sector. 

In the urgent and emergency care survey 2022, the NHS saw an improvement in patient-staff relationships: 

  • ​​84% of patients who used urgent treatment centres said health professionals ‘definitely’ listened to what they had to say.
  • 80% of patients who used urgent treatment centres said they ‘definitely’ had enough time to discuss their condition with a health professional, although lower than 85% in 2020.
  • 79% of patients who used urgent treatment centres said they ‘definitely’ had confidence and trust in health professionals, although lower than 82% in 2020.


While a step in the right direction, there’s still improvement to be made in areas regarding staff availability and waiting times:

  • 17% of A&E patients waited more than 4 hours to be examined compared with 4% in 2020.
  • 15% of urgent care patients with an appointment waited more than 2 hours to be examined (5% in 2020) and 18% without an appointment (7% in 2020).
  • 76% of A&E patients and 66% of urgent care patients weren’t told how long their wait would be.
  • 82% of A&E patients and 79% of urgent care patients weren’t updated on how long their wait would be.
  • While waiting to be treated or examined, 56% of A&E patients who reported needing help said they couldn’t get help with their condition or symptoms from a staff member, compared with 45% in 2020.
  • Later, during their care or treatment, 45% of A&E patients who reported needing attention said that they were ‘always’ able to get a member of medical or nursing staff to help them, compared with 58% in 2020.

There’s a huge need for administrative tasks to become more streamlined and for patients to become more self-sufficient during their stay. By implementing resources to support patient empowerment, patients will instantly have access to everything they need, such as ordering meals if they’re an in-patient, a digital map of the hospital, and their appointment date and time. 

Ultimately, patients will no longer need to ask staff for assistance, meaning staff will spend less time tending to non-medical queries and can focus on other important matters. 

Alongside this, the chance of re-admission will be reduced if a patient is more in control of their own health and are able to make informed decisions.


How Can Patient Empowerment be Implemented?

Patient empowerment can be delivered through a WiFi solution that powers a patient engagement platform, giving patients access to more information about their healthcare management. 

As a result, patients will know about their follow-up appointments and post-discharge treatments, reducing confusion and missed appointments, saving time, money and resources. 

By implementing this technology, staff, patients and visitors will access a secure, high-speed solution that ensures they can always stay connected to friends and family, check in to appointments, watch healthcare videos and even order their meal. 

SPARK® Media is an example of an engagement solution which provides everything they need for a smoother journey during their hospital stay.


Using Patient Empowerment to Measure Efficiency

A reliable engagement system will do much more than boost patient empowerment. After a patient connects to either the WiFi or uses the SPARK® Media engagement platform, Trusts will gain insight into how many people are on site, how long they stay, what services they’re using and more. 

Trusts can streamline their services and redistribute resources more effectively with these analytics, maximising hospital spaces by analysing the hospital’s most busy times.

Long stays in hospital can be very isolating for many people. With a greater understanding of patients, Trusts can improve the visitor experience and ensure their stay in hospital will be as pleasant as possible. 

It’s essential to take steps to help healthcare professionals and patients have a more positive experience in hospitals. We’ve made it easier to determine what those steps are in our product brochure.

75% of patients want digital healthcare services

So let’s work together to give it to them, all while optimising NHS processes.

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