What makes a “Knowledgeable Patient”? On communication and other matters…
Science + democratic participation = better health outcomes, according to Sophie Hill, the editor of a new book called The Knowledgeable Patient.
To find out more about this equation, see the clip and the article below by Hill, the Head of the Centre for Health Communication and Participation in the Australian Institute for Primary Care and Ageing at La Trobe University, provides more detail about the book below.
In a sign of the times, I first heard about it late last week as the result of a tweet circulating this YouTube clip about the book.
Making a case for evidence-informed communication and participation in healthcare
Sophie Hill writes:
The Knowledgeable Patient, released late 2011, is a guide to health’s emerging landscape. It places communication and participation in the context of evidence-based health care.
The book’s premise is we need to combine evidence with experience to create and support the knowledgeable patient of the future.
Written by researchers linked to La Trobe University’s Centre for Health Communication and Participation, The Knowledgeable Patient covers a broad terrain:
• It documents the health benefits of improving interactions between people and health professionals.
• It explores what people want from communication and participation in health.
• Chapters guide readers on how to find the evidence on different strategies to improve people’s experiences in health care.
• The book concludes by bringing what has been discussed into a broader focus, considering how to build a health system based on evidence-informed communication and participation.
It came about because communication in health is not taken seriously enough.
Buried in reports released every year are statistics which show poor communication between health professionals and patients or their families has led to adverse consequences for the patient and higher costs to the health system.
And people’s experiences, captured in research or monitoring data, show similar harms: anxiety, confusion, lack of the right information at the right time and so on.
Research is telling us that communication is critical to health and to a person’s ability to manage their health.
The book is written for the next generation of health professionals, focusing on the concepts, evidence and tools undergraduate and postgraduate students will need to equip them to interact with ‘the knowledgeable patient’.
I want the book to influence how people think about communication and participation. Communication is the most common ‘intervention’ in the health system. But as a society we don’t usually see it this way.
Evidence is building to show the different impacts. For example, passive ways of informing people about safe medicine use are not as effective as more active ways.
Evidence like this should have an impact on health policy and health actions at all levels – from an individual taking preventive health actions, to health professionals and consumers making decisions together, up to people contributing to new policies.
This is the first book of its kind to hone in on communication and participation in the context of evidence-based health care.
• Sophie Hill is the Head of the Centre for Health Communication and Participation in the Australian Institute for Primary Care and Ageing at La Trobe University. She has been researching people’s experiences of health and health care for over 20 years.