Theme: Globally Empowered Patients: Power through Knowledge.

On Saturday 2nd December 2017, patient advocates and stakeholders from all seven world regions will stand together, united in a celebration of Patient Solidarity Day. This will be the seventh year that patients have joined hands to mark the Day. In December, we will use the opportunity to raise awareness of the significant need for, and benefit of, empowered and informed patients.  This year is a unique chance to add your voice to the united call for patient empowerment through knowledge.

Knowledge underpins patient empowerment. The extent to which a patient is empowered depends on them having access to clear, useable information and the ability to accurately assess the credibility of this information. Through the right kinds of knowledge, patients are empowered to exercise their rights and to become active partners in shaping healthcare.

A key tenet of IAPO’s Patient-Centred Healthcare Declaration is that patients have the information that allows them to participate as equal partners in health policy-making at all levels. Patients have a right to not be seen as mere recipients of healthcare, but to be recognised as key partners in managing their health. At the core of this are patients who have the knowledge, expertise and skills to engage with the basic human right of healthcare.

There are many ways in which we can use knowledge to achieve global patient empowerment. These include:

  • Knowing your expertise: patients bring a significant range of skills, experiences and expertise to healthcare. It is vital for patient advocates to be aware of what their distinctive skills are and how these can be best put into use.
  • Knowing your rights: healthcare is a human right. If we want to be effective in advocating for your rights, we need to know what our rights are!
  • Knowing your network: genuine patient empowerment requires a multi-stakeholder approach. To make an impact we have to understand who the decision-makers are to strengthen the likelihood of having an impact on the decisions they make.
  • Knowing your support: information materials are not enough on their own. Knowing that there is support from other patients or groups is crucial to ensuring that patients are empowered to feel supported and in control of their health.
  • Knowing your windows of opportunity: in order to have a stronger impact in advocating for patients’ rights, advocates need to have an understanding of the right point in time and the right healthcare level at which to intervene and engage.

Only through a multi-stakeholder approach can we achieve genuine patient empowerment. This collaboration must be supported by actors at systemic, delivery and individual levels to ensure quality representation of patients in all areas of healthcare. By coming together we can raise awareness of the value that patient empowerment brings to the entire health system. This Patient Solidarity Day, we call on patient advocates to engage with key stakeholders to help them understand the benefits of globally informed, empowered patients. 

 

Key messages about Patient Solidarity Day 2017

  • Globally empowered patients: power through knowledge.
  • Let’s raise awareness of the significant need for, and benefit of, empowered and informed patients.
  • Patients need clear, accessible, relevant and reliable health information to make informed decisions about their health.
  • An empowered patient is a patient that is enabled to have a say, take action and influence healthcare decision making.
  • By coming together for PSD 2017 we call for patient empowerment through better and higher quality patient information.
  • Empowering patients means involving them at all levels of their healthcare journey.
  • To truly empower patients information must be accurate, relevant, easily understandable and comprehensive.
  • Empowered patients means healthy healthcare systems.