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Extra patient involvement in care can save NHS money

By Gareth Iacobucci

Patient involvement will be crucial for controlling healthcare costs and improving standards of care, according to a new report.

The study by the Economist Intelligence Unit found that healthcare professionals believe that patients will play a key role in making healthcare systems sustainable.

More than 80% of healthcare professionals polled said that giving patients more say in the treatment process and enabling them to take more responsibility for their own health will be important or even critical in containing the cost of healthcare and improving standards of care in the future.

However, they cited a lack of political will to change healthcare systems as a potential stumbling block to implementing patient-centred care in their own countries.

Fixing Healthcare, commissioned by Philips, gathered views of more than 700 healthcare professionals, from frontline medical staff to life science industry executives, in the US, UK, Germany and India.

Professionals in most regions felt that standards of care in their country had declined over the last two years, and clearly supported patient-driven efforts to improve them.

Iain Scott, the report's editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said: ‘It has become increasingly apparent that, as patients become more educated and proactive, they are more likely to frame the healthcare agenda. Clearly that creates additional pressures on healthcare systems, but ultimately if patients can be empowered to manage their own health more effectively, they can also be part of the solution.'

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