Bestermann and other physicians at the Holston Medical Group have rearranged workdays to help patients become more involved in their care, he says. They changed visiting hours to be more flexible for patients, to get a better sense of their needs, and to learn what more they can do for themselves.
While technological improvements have helped patients, not all of them are the be-all-or-end-all to initiate patient involvement, says Roberta Schwartz, MHS, senior vice president of operations for the 864-bed Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX.
"One of the most important things is for patients to take the time to understand what is going on with their care, and recognize they have a right to get every question answered," Schwartz says.
Methodist Hospital offers free programs for weight management and diabetes that answer questions and help physicians and nurses work with patients to prepare for upcoming procedures or manage chronic conditions.
The idea, Schwartz says, is for patients to "take control" of their health.