The Virtue and Value of Patient Empowerment and Health Literacy Amidst Healthcare Reform | Healthcare

Patient empowerment and health literacy are important and valuable attributes for both patients and healthcare providers in today’s changing healthcare system which emphasizes improved healthcare quality, improved population health and reduced healthcare costs.Patient empowerment is a key component of healthcare reform in that it is the development of the ability to understand and participate in one’s healthcare and health management so as to bring about improvements in both while at the same time reducing healthcare costs.Because the current fee-for-service healthcare provider reimbursement system is currently in the process of transitioning from a volume-based system to a value-based one in which the value-based parameters are quality of care and costs, patient empowerment and health literacy are valuable to both patients and healthcare providers.Health literacy, which is the ability of patients to understand health-related information and use that information to make informed decisions, has been well-recognized by many in the healthcare community as a valuable cofactor for the delivery of quality health care. The patient-related reason is that health literacy begets greater patient adherence to treatment instructions and better treatment outcomes. The provider-related reason is that the ability to make correct diagnoses and provide effective treatment are in large part determined by the quality of the information provided by patients, in spite of all of the diagnostic technology at our disposal.


The latter fact is supported by a study performed in the early 1990s in which internal medicine physicians performed evaluations outside of the hospital on patients with undiagnosed medical problems then compared the rate of diagnostic accuracy of the three diagnostic modalities that physicians use, i.e., the patient history, physical examination and diagnostic testing. The study showed that of the three categories of information relied on the history alone resulted in the correct diagnosis being made 76% of the time compared to accuracy rates of 12% and 11% when doctors relied on only the physical examination and diagnostic tests respectively.Another study published in an August 2011 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association which compared the relative importance of the patient history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests showed conclusively that hospitalized patients in the study were accurately diagnosed most often when doctors relied on the history alone or the history in conjunction with the physical examination findings and/or test results. Conversely, the study showed that when physicians relied on the physical exam or test results solely or in combination accurate diagnoses were made in only a small percentage of the patients.The quality of healthcare received by patients is oftentimes determined to a great degree by the quality of the information they provide. Proficient health literacy usually results in more accurate and relevant information which translates into more accurate diagnoses as well as timelier and more appropriate treatment.


Additionally, proficient health literacy resulting from patient empowerment reduces healthcare costs by decreasing overreliance on medical technology, unnecessary duplicate testing and costly errors resulting from actions based on incorrect or insufficient information.As healthcare reform and healthcare payment reform continue to evolve, the value and importance of patient empowerment are likely to increase. Therefore, patients and patients’ caregivers should take the necessary steps to acquire a degree of health literacy to assume the increased patient responsibility accompanying the forces of reform.This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice or a substitute for medical consultation with a qualified professional. If you are seeking legal advice or are unsure about your medical condition you should consult an attorney and/or physician.

The professional company brandality provides all the information on branding agency.

How to Use Your Hospital Newsletter for Healthcare Marketing | Healthcare

Many healthcare organizations publish newsletters to share announcements and health tips with patients and the community. While this is a great way to get information to the public, a hospital newsletter can also play a role in your healthcare marketing strategy. Whether you publish a newsletter monthly, quarterly or on some other schedule, use each issue as an opportunity to enforce your brand, connect with patients, and attract new and repeat patients.Brand Recognition: Don’t think of your hospital newsletter as separate from your other healthcare marketing pieces. It can also be an important part of your hospital branding strategy. Although you should be focusing the content of your articles on hospital news and health information, rather than outright “selling” your services, you should still make sure the overall look and feel of your newsletter reflects your hospital’s brand. Remember, your brand is not just the colors or design you use, but also the promises you make and the mission statement you follow. Show how you are living up to those promises and the steps you are taking to further your mission in the articles featured in your healthcare newsletter.


Make the Connection: As a healthcare marketer, you know how important it is to be able to reach your audience in a way they can understand. Using technical terms and your hospital’s “lingo” in your healthcare newsletter articles will only make readers feel confused and alienated. Instead, make sure the language you use is easy to understand for people who don’t have a background in medicine. Engage and inspire your audience with topics that are relevant to them – seasonal trends, community health concerns, or even healthcare and politics. Connect emotionally with your audience by sharing patient success stories, which also inspire positive attitudes towards your hospital. Pair these articles with promotions for services you provide to have even more healthcare marketing success. Patients and potential patients will be looking for expert information and advice they can understand and trust, as well as a place they can turn to for more information.Draw Them In: Ultimately, your healthcare marketing goal is to bring new and repeat patients through your doors. Your healthcare newsletter is a perfect avenue for increasing patient traffic – and your revenue. Just like your traditional healthcare marketing pieces, the main goal of your articles should be to inspire readers to take some kind of action, whether that is to schedule an appointment, visit your website, offer feedback or seek out more information. Your hospital newsletter will keep patients coming back to you, as the valuable information you provide will keep you in the front of their minds when they need trustworthy medical care. However, don’t just have your newsletter sit in your waiting rooms – reach a broad base of the community with a good mailing list to attract new patients.


Produce your newsletter on a consistent basis, follow these tips and see what a difference a good hospital newsletter can make on your healthcare marketing efforts.