Healthcare

Empowering the patient voice in healthcare decisions

November 22, 2021

Asia

Empowering the patient voice in healthcare decisions

November 22, 2021

Asia
Rohini Omkar
Editor, The Economist Intelligence Unit

Rohini Omkar is a senior manager at Economist Impact's healthcare practice. Rohini leads engagements with multi-national pharmaceutical and life sciences clients, developing and delivering evidence-based health policy projects in Asia. Her interests include person-centred healthcare, mental health, and women’s health. Prior to joining The Economist Group, Rohini worked in the public sector and academia in Singapore, managing transformative public health and strategic research programs.

Rohini holds a degree in medicine from St John’s Medical College in India, and a master’s degree in Public Health from Harvard University. 

Empowering the patient voice in healthcare decisions is an Economist Impact report, sponsored by Janssen. This report aims to examine patient empowerment in the Asia-Pacific region and compare it with best practices globally, as well as examine how the patient voice can be empowered when decisions are being made about individuals’ health.
In the Asia-Pacific region, the cost and future sustainability of healthcare systems is a major concern for governments, driven in no small part by rapidly ageing populations. As governments continue to grapple with the economic impact of covid-19 and seek to arrest any declines in population health from missed or forgone medical care, their interest in measures that could enhance the efficiency and sustainability of healthcare systems will be heightened. In this context, we explore the role of patient empowerment and the significant opportunities that it offers to drive more sustainable and equitable healthcare systems in the region.
 
Patient empowerment is multifaceted, and there are different opinions as to what patient empowerment involves. Some view it as a process, while others consider it both a process and an outcome. Patient empowerment can be viewed as part of a patient journey, where, partly through increased health literacy, patients become both more aware of decisions regarding their health and better equipped to make them.
 
Interest in increasing the level of patient involvement in healthcare decisions has been rising among patients, the public and policymakers in recent times. In particular, the US and Europe have formalised measures to improve the level of patient engagement in their medicine regulation and reimbursement systems. Despite these positive steps, the systematic, meaningful involvement of patients in decision-making across health systems remains more of an aspiration than a reality around the world, and particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.
 

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