January 5, 2013

Empowered Patients

I know that Dr. Quick is being polite in his discussion of the 1213 ADA guidelines when he makes this point, “And there’s one concept that the ADA doesn’t fully discuss: empowering the diabetes patient to become an active partner in their own diabetes care (self-management). In fact, the only mention of the word “empower” this year is in the discussion of pregnancy planning: “The goals of preconception care are to... involve and empower the patient in the management of her diabetes...” Oh well. Maybe next year?”

From my perspective as a patient, I feel that many doctors are not ready to deal with empowered patients. After talking with a couple of medical students, they said their school was not teaching new doctors to deal with them where they were in school. One student did say she knew better and that she would work with empowered patients and proactive patients. She was very discouraged by the teachings in this area as she was reading more about doctors working with e-patients on the internet than she was getting in the classroom. She also commented that is was mostly male teachers not talking about empowered patients, but that one of the female instructors was mentioning it.

This needs to be part of the discussion by patients with diabetes (and other patients with chronic diseases) to encourage the national organizations to make this part of the professional guidelines. If this were to happen, then the medical schools could not continue to ignore the topic.