Healthcare Professionals are you ready for e-Patients?

                                                                                                                                                                            Photo by Matthew Henry

Doing some research for an article, I stumbled upon a trending healthcare community. e-Patients and websites like healthnewsreview.org . This trend actually started a few years ago with digital age but it is growing along with increased access to medical information.

Patients are more curious than ever and want to know more to help take care of themselves since they now can google the web for almost anything. E-Patients go beyond the normal googling.

I believe as people become more wary of all the new advances coming out and distrust of their health insurance and maybe even their sometimes rushed professionals, this will explode. People are no longer “go to the doctor and do and take what he says without questioning”.

Now this has been taken to a new level. So what is the definition of an e-Patient? An e-patient is a patient or a caregiver who has a voice, an opinion, a question, or a solution and shares it with others via the Web.

E-patients may even interact with their healthcare team via the Web. With ever-changing technologies at their fingertips, the growing community of e-patients is becoming even savvier. Some e-patients are pioneers in patient engagement according to Health Ed. http://healthed.typepad.com/

It has evolved to websites such as epatients.net, patientslikeme.com and inspire.com. One of the early e-Patients has his own personal website epatientdave.com.

Dave belongs to another group called Society for Participatory Medicine that is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization which promotes the concept of participatory medicine. This means there are networked patients that patients become responsible drivers of their health and their providers encourage and value them as full partners. particpatorymedicine.org

So what does this mean for the world of medicine, professionals and other facilities that give care?

Perhaps if you can grasp this new challenge and bring your patients into actively helping themselves by being educated and aware of their health problems and how to improve their health with your guidance, they may stay healthier and be more aware of what is happening in their care.

According to the Society of Participatory Care shared responsibility of healthcare is showing that e-patients are more involved in their care and often find information that providers don’t have time or reimbursement to pursue.

Many new companies are finding new digital ways for healthcare professionals to communicate with their patients, even using more digital devices that can communicate to them from the patient and back.

It has been said that millennials especially are asking for more digital ways to be involved with their health care and the older generation is also savvier than you might think.

This will continue to help grow the e-patient trend even further. It really is a positive move for all involved.

 

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