“A process that helps people gain control over their own lives and increases their capacity to act on issues that they themselves define as important.”
European Patients' Forum
The European Patients’ Forum defines empowerment as “a process that helps people gain control over their own lives and increases their capacity to act on issues that they themselves define as important. Digital health has an important role to play in this process. An ageing population combined with a growing prevalence of chronic diseases has resulted in an increased need for healthcare and requires countries to focus more on prevention and early diagnosis with the aim to improve the quality of life. As medicine has advanced, so have there been developments in the role of the patient. Today’s patients expect to be treated as partners in their healthcare journey, taking a more active role in managing their own health. To meet this need, governments need to put more emphasis on empowering people. People need to be informed and provided with the right digital means, as well as possess adequate digital health skills in order to take control of their health. To help meet this need, the eHealth Network adopted “Empowering People” as one of its four key priorities to be tackled by the Multiannual Work Programme 2018-2021.
In this booklet we show the role of digital health in people empowerment and identify and explain gaps in its usage. It is intended to guide the thinking of societies in identifying key priorities that will form the basis for a policy proposal to be finalised in November 2020. We highlight four focus areas:
All of which are considered essential for an empowered population. The above topics all have to do with people empowerment in different ways. In an ideal situation empowered people have the following qualities:
- The requisite skills to use digital tools for their health, e.g. digital and health literacy.
- The motivation to take action on and care of their own health, e.g. access and use their health data.
- The requisite digital solutions to guide them, e.g. mHealth and telehealth.
To bring the journey to empowerment to life, we used personas as use cases. The personas will be explained next slide.