Intended for healthcare professionals

Empowering and engaging patients: Unlocking access to patient records and aiding decision-making

Empowered and engaged patients have been described as “the block-buster drug of the century,” but all too often this aspect of patient care is neglected. The covid-19 pandemic has, and continues to be, an immense challenge for individuals, communities, and health systems. However, it has also been an opportunity to rethink how care is delivered and patients are engaged. The response to the pandemic meant that physical interactions were restricted in many countries and digital tools have often been seen as a solution.

This collection of articles, commissioned by The BMJ ahead of WISH 2022, considers two key ways of empowering patients through digital means. First, by giving patients access to their own medical records. Second, by rapidly developing decision aids to support patients in making informed choices about their health.

What can we learn from rapidly developed patient decision aids produced during the covid-19 pandemic?
Supporting people to make decisions during the covid-19 pandemic created new opportunities for shared decision making and rapid development of patient decision aids, say Michael Barry and colleagues

Patient empowerment through online access to health records
Rapid, convenient, and full access to personal electronic health records is a key part of empowering patients to manage their health and collaborate with healthcare, argue Maria Hägglund and colleagues

Recognising lived experience is essential to empowering disabled patients
Peer networks are essential to support people with disability to live happy, autonomous lives, writes Thomas Shakespeare

The Forum Advisory Board for this report was co-chaired by:

  • Angela Coulter
  • Mark Barone

Sincere thanks are extended to the members of the advisory board of the WISH 2022 Forum on Patient Empowerment:

  • Michael Barry
  • Maria Hägglund
  • Mowafa Househ
  • Karina Dahl Steffensen

This article is part of a series commissioned by The BMJ for the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) 2022. The BMJ commissioned, edited, and made the decisions to publish. The series, including open access fees, is funded by WISH. Richard Hurley and Paul Simpson were the lead editors for The BMJ.

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