I co authored this article with my colleague from ACCESS Health Singapore, Denise Ong

“Patient centered care” is a term that has become ubiquitous in healthcare policy and strategy documents. Today chronic diseases such as diabetes prevail. Health and social needs of an aging population are typically complex and intertwined. Healthcare is becoming democratized. It is no wonder then that healthcare providers are compelled to consider and respect the needs and preferences of service users.

In Singapore, reforms are well underway to deliver more patient centered, integrated care. Chief among these are the reorganization of the healthcare system into Regional Health Systems and the establishment of the Agency for Integrated Care. Recognizing that prevention and management of chronic conditions needs to happen beyond the walls of medical settings, there are concerted efforts to promote healthy behaviors and self care within the community.

What is lacking from prevailing models of patient centered care are approaches that harness people’s inherent strengths and that emphasize mutual support. Those who live with chronic conditions build up expertise in how to manage their health and navigate the care system. Their lived experience is a valuable resource that could be used to enhance the experience and outcomes for others with similar health conditions.

Yet the healthcare system is still dominated by a medical model. There continues to be an over reliance on health professionals. Services are not geared towards tapping on the wealth of experience of those outside traditional health domains or those without formal qualifications. This is despite the steep challenge of growing the healthcare workforce at a rate that will meet the needs of a rapidly aging population.

For people with a chronic condition like diabetes, self management often requires making major, long term lifestyle changes. The changes in behavior and formation of new habits occur…

This article was sourced from Huffpost.

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