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True patient participation is difficult and takes dialogue

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 17 March 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i1506
  1. J Ditters,
  2. manager,
  3. healthcare policy, innovation and patients
  1. Vondellaan 60, 6824NG Arnhem, Netherlands
  1. jessica.ditters{at}

What does participation really mean? J Ditters reflects

I felt tense driving to the conference. My neurologist and I had been asked to speak about the potential benefits of technology for neurology patients. My tenseness puzzled me: this should have been a routine task for someone who works as an innovation manager in a health centre, empowering patients and their families with social and technological advances.

I fumbled at the parking meter, and in the cloakroom I dropped my umbrella for the third time that day. I have muscular dystrophy with myotonia. I often have cold, stiff hands, but today this upset me. I felt as if all of the doctors there would identify me as a patient.

Treated as a partner

As an optimist, I’ve always let myself be guided by possibilities rather than …

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