Patient Engagement: The Importance of Patients Being Involved in Their Own Healthcare

patient engagement

Patient engagement with their own healthcare is a crucial topic that needs to be spoken about openly. 

“People actively involved in their health and health care tend to have better outcomes–and, some evidence suggests, lower costs.” – Julia James

Most patients are unaware of how their medical records are collected, how they are used, or how they can access them for their own knowledge. 

Although many companies around the world are trying to solve this problem, none have yet been successful in developing a friendly and easy to use solution that patients can actually use.

Current Problems with Patient Engagement

The internet has allowed for knowledge and explanations to be available to patients 24/7. Therefore, there is no reason to dumb down clinical notes for patients, because even if they are not involved in the field of medicine, a quick search will help them understand their encounter with a clinician. 

So far, the term ‘patient engagement’ has mostly referred to routine engagement with doctors, how to make their way through a hospital, or how to choose their own health insurance plan. However, patient engagement is more important and more complex than that.

But more importantly, patients have serious lack of access to their own healthcare records, specifically, records from their visits to the doctor. 

Even though patients are certainly not expected to understand medical terminology entirely, the ability to access and understand their own medical notes at any time would provide both psychological comfort and a better understanding of their own overall health. 

Additionally, there is a reluctance from some doctors to share their own notes with their patients. 

Interestingly, this problem isn’t only specific to certain countries. It is a global problem that affects patients of all ages, ethnicities, and social statuses. And it must be solved. 

However, patient engagement isn’t just about access to personal medical records. It must also consider the needs of each patient and ensure that patient values inform all clinical decisions.

Major Issues that Need to Be Overcome

Even with the best intentions, it is isn’t easy to develop adequate patient engagement from the start. Each potential issue must be taken into consideration and measured against a patient’s societal, psychological and healthcare background.

Errors Due to Doctor Burnout

According to a recent study, “overburdened practitioners may import inaccurate medication lists, propagate other erroneous information electronically by copying and pasting older parts of the record, or enter erroneous examination findings.”

Although these errors are of course never done on purpose, they do represent a reality of everyday work in the field of medicine. And yet, the same study also showed that “despite these known problems, systems for checking the accuracy of notes are almost non-existent.” 

A good start to dealing with the problem would be the availability of open notes where both patient and doctor can have free access to each patient’s medical records.

Societal and Psychological Barriers

Not all patients have the courage to openly ask questions about their own health condition. 

This may be due to factors of age, gender, education, cultural differences, religious beliefs, etc. As a result, if the only way that patients can access their medical records is by asking the doctor for them on each visit, this will greatly limit global efforts of patient engagement

Financial Costs

We must understand that even in the 21st century, according to the World Bank, 10 percent of the world’s population, or 734 million people, live on less than $1.90 a day. 

With all the inequalities that are already part of their daily lives, healthcare should not be an additional burden

Patients around the globe, must be offered access to their medical data in a format that is both easy to use and affordable.

Doctors and Healthcare Workers Cannot Take the Entire Burden

Medical fatigue is a serious problem that affects both doctors and nurses. Even before the COVID-19 world crisis (and especially now) healthcare workers have been overwhelmed with the number of patients they receive, the amount of planning that needs to be done, goals that must be accomplished, and mountains of paperwork that need to be completed. 

There is simply not enough time in a healthcare worker’s day to dedicate themselves to the medical records of each patient, and to also be available to explain any medical terminology that the patient may have questions about. 

There must be a better way to handle patient engagement without causing even more work for doctors and nurses.

Perfection isn’t the goal – action is.

The Solution: A Clinical Notes Manager for All

At Sherplay, our founders are doctors who have been dealing with these issues every day of their career. 

After much research and planning, they have developed a solution that includes the needs of both doctors and patients when it comes to medical records and understanding healthcare. 

The solution is Beeseet. An innovative clinical, open notes manager that takes advantage of AI that allows doctors to collect and organize key elements of each patient’s visit. 

Within seconds and a few taps, Beeseet allows the doctor to turn their full attention to the patient and establish true human contact between the two. 

And that’s not all. Beeseet also allows patients to access their own medical notes at any time!

Through voice and text recognition, photos and videos, and without any human intermediaries, Beeseet allows both doctors and patients to have a clear and intelligent record of what took place during an appointment.

Our easy-to-use app has the potential to help patients and healthcare workers across the world, and is a flexible solution that will be able to evolve with the times and needs of its users.

The Sherplay team is proud of what Beeseet has already achieved and delighted with all the possibilities that are to come!