Newsflash: EHFF to commence major project on Patient Empowerment, going live this month and scheduled to run for three years subject to ongoing scrutiny, funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation. Having incorporated the ENOPE network under our umbrella last year, this is our opportunity to utilise the considerable resources of that network to make an impact in this important area of health policy as well as to stimulate activity at grass-roots level.
EHFF is delighted to announce the start of the new initiative- a virtual centre for Patient Empowerment and Self-Management across Europe, which would support patients and NGOs, health care providers, insurers and government agencies in the design, implementation and evaluation of patient empowerment approaches. The centre will initially be called the Centre for Empowering Patients and Communities (CEPaC)
The new virtual centre will bring together various strands of work and networks into a single cohesive resource that will enable faster implementation and spread of patient empowerment approaches.
Initially housed and supported by the European Health Futures Forum, the centre will aim to become an independent autonomous organisation.
There is a clear correlation between low health literacy[i] or activation[ii] and higher levels of disease and cost. Health care providers, insurers and governments are increasingly becoming aware that the management of health and improvement in health outcomes is not going to come solely through clinical interventions but requires a new relationship between the public and health care providers, commonly described as patient empowerment. Health providers want to create partnerships where individual and communities take responsibility for their health. This has relevance in chronic conditions such as diabetes[iii] and heart disease, where the main management is through lifestyle changes
Over the last twenty years a significant body of evidence and expertise has begun to emerge on approaches that support empowered patients and communities. What all of these publications tell us is that if people are supported to become empowered and engaged in managing their own health and wellbeing in their communities, they will have a better experience of public services than they do now and they will enjoy better outcomes at a lower cost.
In addition, their communities can become more resilient and cohesive.
However, a lack of access to expertise and guidance in implementing these approaches is hindering progress.
Specifically, this project would bring about changes that enable health care systems to support empowerment and behaviour change:
- at the individual level through approaches such as health coaching, self-management education and peer support.
- at the organisational level through training of front line staff and organisational development, enabling health care organisations to become health literate
- at the community and population level through asset based community approaches and primary prevention.
- at State level through policy change
[i] The impact of low health literacy on the medical costs of Medicare managed care enrollees. David H. Howard, PhD, Julie Gazmararian, MPH, PhD, Ruth M. Parker, MD American Medical Journal 2005
[ii] When patient activation levels change, health outcomes and cost change too. Hibbard et al. Health Affairs 2015
[iii] Long-Term Benefits From Lifestyle Interventions for Type 2 Diabetes Prevention. Jaakko Tuomilehto, MD, MA, PHD1⇓, Peter Schwarz, MD2 and Jaana Lindström, PHD3