The recent focus on patient engagement acknowledges that patients have an important role to play in their own health care. This includes reading, understanding and acting on health information (health literacy), working together with clinicians to select appropriate treatments or management options (shared decision making), and providing feedback on health care processes and outcomes (quality improvement). Various interventions designed to help patients play an effective role have been evaluated in trials and systematic reviews. This article outlines the evidence in support of the most promising interventions.
Department of Public Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.
Correspondence: Angela Coulter, PhD, Department of Public Health, University of Oxford, Rosemary Rue Building, Old Road Campus, Oxford OX3 7LF, UK (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Dr Coulter acts as a consultant to the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making, a not-for-profit (501 (c)3) private foundation (http://www.informedmedicaldecisions.org). The Foundation develops content for patient decision support programs. The Foundation has an arrangement with a for-profit company, Health Dialog, to coproduce these programs. The programs are used as part of the decision support and disease management services Health Dialog provides to consumers through health care organizations and employers.