For many individuals, navigating a health journey and the healthcare system can be challenging, and it may be difficult to understand what’s going on with their health and the decisions being made regarding it. If this is your experience, health empowerment can come in to help you build confidence when it comes to your health.
Health empowerment is when you can feel confident about having a significant influence over your personal health outcomes (Jiang et al.). Through growth in skills, knowledge, and control over your health decisions, you can be better equipped to become empowered when it comes to health outcomes.
For health care to advance and for you to feel more confident about your health, empowerment in health care must be focused on. Not only can health empowerment improve healthcare outcomes, but it can also enhance patient-provider communication and increase overall patient satisfaction.
In this blog, we’ll go over what health empowerment is, why it’s important, the benefits it can provide, and the tools and resources to help you become more empowered.
What Is Health Empowerment?
Health empowerment goes beyond the traditional sense of a patient-provider relationship and focuses on shared decisions and collaborative efforts regarding health care. As individuals feel more empowered within their health journey, a greater emphasis is being placed on a person centred approach (Holmstrom).
A person-centered approach involves putting you at the forefront of all health decisions while empowering you to become an active participant in your health journey (Reynolds). It’s important to be an engaged patient, as it increases the likelihood of participating in preventative measures, better outcomes to treatment plans due to adherence, quality of life improvement, feeling respected and heard, and overall sense of empowerment (O’Donovan).
Information and knowledge are foundational to health empowerment. Making more informed decisions starts with having access to relevant, credible, and understandable information. With advancements in technology, this is becoming easier to do.
With an abundance of information available online, it’s important to check that the information you review is based on evidence to avoid misinformation. Some ways to ensure accurate information is to look at the author and their credentials, check if citations are used, see if the information considers different perspectives and determine whether the information is up to date (Stevenson University).
Benefits of Empowerment in Healthcare
Earlier in this blog, some of the benefits of empowerment in healthcare were mentioned. Let’s dive deeper into what these benefits are.
Below are some of the benefits that health empowerment can provide (O’Donovan; Hickmann):
Improved health outcomes: due to treatment plan adherence, better health management, and better health-related quality of life.
Enhanced patient-provider communication: stronger relationships and better communication with healthcare providers are often seen more with patients who feel empowered. This can lead to more trust, respect, and feelings of being heard.
Increased satisfaction with healthcare experiences: feeling more involved and better understanding the decisions that impact health can improve patient satisfaction.
Self-advocacy: feelings of empowerment help to increase the confidence needed to self-advocate for oneself. With the right tools and knowledge, you will better understand your health and be able to advocate thoroughly.
Health Empowerment Tool and Resources
We now understand the importance of health empowerment, but how do we work towards achieving it? Tools and resources are available to help you become more aware of your health, understand health terminology and processes, and manage your health more effectively.
Health empowerment begins with health literacy and an improved understanding of the decisions that can impact your health. One way to improve health literacy is through educational materials that healthcare clinics provide, such as brochures, online platforms, and forums that provide easy-to-understand health information (Koh et al.).
In addition to these materials, health education workshops exist to provide you with the knowledge and skills to more effectively manage your health. Workshops may be set up by healthcare organizations or local community centers.
Some online forums, webinars, and in-person groups can provide expert advice, additional information, and a platform for you to discuss with others and ask questions. By using a form of crowdsourcing, you open your access to more knowledge and expertise to empower yourself throughout your health journey (Lambert et al.).
With advancements in technology, you now have access to patient portals that store health records, show test results, and allow for appointment scheduling. In addition to the patient portals that health facilities offer, various health apps and wearable devices exist to provide you with a means to track, store, and analyze your health data. Health apps, such as the Zamplo App, focus on promoting health empowerment with a person-centric approach.
With the global pandemic, there was a rise in the necessity for telemedicine platforms. These platforms provide health services and information remotely using communication technology (Mayo Clinic). Through these platforms, you can receive virtual consultations that help enable more convenient healthcare access and regular follow-ups and encourage more participation in your health journey (Bashshur et al.).
Becoming Empowered in Your Health Journey
By embracing health empowerment, you become the driver of your health journey. Remember that health empowerment can help improve healthcare outcomes, enhance the relationship between patient and provider to form the basis for better communication, and increase overall patient satisfaction.
Knowing the right tools and resources to help you feel more empowered will pave the way for a more active and informed approach to health care. Improving health literacy, joining forums and community groups, and utilizing the available patient portals and health apps are all ways to get started on becoming more empowered with your health.
One tool that can help you feel more empowered is the Zamplo App. Using the app, you can track, store, and analyze health data in one central location regardless of whether you switch doctors, travel, or move. You also have complete control over the collection, use, and disclosure of personally identifiable information. This means you keep your health data for life.
To take the first step to becoming more informed and empowered in your health journey, click the button below.