Patient empowerment : creating effective partnerships between the patient and the healthcare delivery chain

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    The delivery of healthcare has, over the past 2 500 years, been firmly entrenched in the domain of the physician. Since the ‘Father of Medicine’, Hippocrates (470 BC) created his vision for just, moral and ethical standards of administering and providing medical care for his patients, the information flow and decision-making responsibility has resided uniquely and solely in the formal and traditionally established physician-driven medical system. Patients were grateful, uninformed, unimpowered and entirely dependent on their physician’s judgement, intent, knowledge and goodwill. In this role, the medical caregiver’s image was akin to a god-like figure. Recently, however, during the explosion of the information and technology era, patients have been taking a more inclusive interest in their health and the various treatment options available to them. This article examines the benefits, risks, ethical dilemmas and emerging processes being offered to promote patient empowerment, and also proposes three different novel categories of empowerment programmes which could be to the benefit of all stakeholders in the healthcare delivery chain (HCDC).