Patient empowerment as a component of health system reforms: rights, benefits and vested interests

Intern Emerg Med. 2012 Apr;7(2):183-7. doi: 10.1007/s11739-012-0757-1. Epub 2012 Jan 26.


Different strategies have been developed across countries to foster citizens' and patients' involvement, from health policies to patients' active participation in decisions regarding their health. The spectrum varies from systems where patients lead the reform of health care services, to others where a paternalistic approach still limits patients' autonomy in decision-making. This paper describes: (1) different interventions for involving patients; (2) experiences to promote consumer evidence-based advocacy; and (3) barriers to consumer involvement in health system reforms, including vested interests in patients' associations. Citizens' involvement in health systems can vary substantially, but is gaining increasing weight.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Community Participation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Decision Making
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Health Care Reform*
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Advocacy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Participation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Quality of Health Care