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Patient-Centered Care Starts With Education

October 31, 2011

The main challenge to providing patient-centred health care is education, as many patients do know how to access the health care system, states an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) (pre-embargo link only) http://www.cmaj.ca/site/embargo/cmaj111687.pdf.

While there are many resources available, many patients are unaware of what is available and how to access resources that can help with health issues.

“Even a perfect system won’t work if patients don’t know how to access it effectively,” writes CMAJ Deputy Editor Dr. Matthew Stanbrook and colleagues. “Also, our failure to help patients adequately understand their disease and its treatment underlies much of the suboptimal adherence to treatment that leads to otherwise preventable outcomes.”

“We must empower people to become the solution to achieving their own optimal health by enabling them to connect effectively not only to the system but also to other resources around them, including family and community,” write the authors.

Education is key to empowering patients and could include high school courses on how to be effective health consumers as well as community education programs focused on life stages such as pregnancy, parenthood, retirement and caregiving.

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