Podcast with Dr. Danielle Martin: A doctors view on how patient engagement may lead to better health
The Health Council of Canada's latest report identifies time as the
biggest barrier to patient engagement
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TORONTO, Sept. 22, 2011 /CNW/ - Today, the Health Council of Canada releases How Engaged are Canadians in their Primary Care?, an in-depth look at patient engagement through the lens of the 2010 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey.
Among 10 other countries, who take part in the Commonwealth Fund Survey,
Canada falls exactly in the middle percentage range when it pertains to patient engagement. New Zealand,
Australia and Switzerland have the most engaged patients at 68%, 63%
and 59% respectively. These same countries in a past Commonwealth survey (2010) earned high ratings from citizens on access, affordability, timeliness
and coordination of care.
The report takes a deeper look into patient engagement in Canada and
reveals that overall, more engaged patients perceive themselves to be
healthier and better use the health services and resources in the
system. However, the report finds that only 48% of Canadians feel involved and are actively participating in their own health care.
That means less than half of Canadians are taking a more active role in
maintaining their health and oftentimes leading to increased
satisfaction with their care. Engaged patients are more likely to make
active efforts to participate in disease prevention, screening and
health promotion activities.
The biggest barrier to patient engagement is time. Increasing patient
expectations are placing greater demands on doctors' time. Not having
enough time with their doctor keeps many Canadians from feeling engaged
in their care. Feeling rushed during appointments is a key barrier to
engagement. Patients want more time with their doctors. Physicians need
Alternatively, the report found that Canadians are more likely to feel
engaged if they believed it was easy for them to access care. In fact,
of the 27% of Canadians who believed it was easy to get answers via telephone with
their doctor's offices, 71% were considered engaged patients. Furthermore, patients are almost
twice as likely to be engaged if someone follows up to give them their
"Patients are more likely to feel engaged if they believe that their
time has not been wasted; if they have access to their primary care
providers and understand the information being provided to them," says John G. Abbott, CEO of the Health Council of Canada. "But the responsibility rests between both the patient and the
physician to ensure both parties are involved and satisfied in the
The report provides tips for physicians on how to re-design their service around patient needs and for patients
on how to be more involved in their care. For example, physicians can
talk more with their patients and find out if they feel involved, and
ask someone in their office to follow-up with a patient on test results
regardless of whether the news is negative or positive. Patients, on the other hand, can come to their appointment prepared. They can
bring a list of questions to their appointment, describe their symptoms
accurately, and ask for clarity or more information from their
physicians when required.
The report notes that governments and policy makers are working on a
variety of structural changes to relieve the time pressures that create
barriers to more involvement between physicians and their patients.
Implementation of team-based care across some provinces have been able
to free up physicians' time to see patients who need their clinical
Through the execution of electronic health records, patients' medical
history is easily available for all providers involved in care, which
makes patients feel their time was not wasted, and their care was
organized well and test results or records were readily available at
About Patient Engagement
For the purposes of this report a patient is defined as engaged by their
physician if all of the following criteria have been satisfied.
Patients must be involved in their decision making, provided adequate
time during visits and provided the opportunity to ask questions about
About the Health Council of Canada
Created by the 2003 First Ministers' Accord on Health Care Renewal, the Health Council of Canada is an independent national agency that
reports on the progress of health care renewal. The Council provides a
system-wide perspective on health care reform in Canada, and
disseminates information on best practices and innovation across the
country. The Councillors are appointed by the participating provincial
and territorial governments and the Government of Canada.
To read commentary from guest bloggers, including patients and
physicians, visit: www.healthcouncilcanada.blogspot.com.
Image with caption: "Only 48% of Canadians feel involved and are actively participating in their health care - which affects how they feel about their health. In a new report, the Health Council of Canada takes a look at why less than half of Canadians are taking a more active role in maintaining their health. (CNW Group/Health Council of Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20110922_C5505_PHOTO_EN_3644.jpg
Audio with caption: "Podcast with Dr. Danielle Martin: A doctors view on how patient engagement may lead to better health". Audio available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2011/09/22/20110922_C5505_AUDIO_EN_3646.mp3
SOURCE Health Council of Canada
For further information:
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Manager, Media Relations,
Health Council of Canada