Patient engagement: four case studies that highlight the potential for improved health outcomes and reduced costs

Health Aff (Millwood). 2014 Sep;33(9):1627-34. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2014.0375.


The energy of patients and members of the public worldwide who care about improving health is a huge, but still largely unrecognized and untapped, resource. The aim of patient engagement is to shift the clinical paradigm from determining "what is the matter?" to discovering "what matters to you?" This article presents four case studies from around the world that highlight the proven and potential abilities of increased patient engagement to improve health outcomes and reduce costs, while extending the reach of treatment and diagnostic programs into the community. The cases are an online mental health community in the United Kingdom, a genetic screening program in the United Arab Emirates, a World Health Organization checklist for new mothers, and a hospital-based patient engagement initiative in the United States. Evidence from these and similar endeavors suggests that closer collaboration on the part of patients, families, health care providers, health care systems, and policy makers at multiple levels could help diverse nations provide more effective and population-appropriate health care with fewer resources.

Keywords: Empowering Patients; Global Health; Health Policy; Patient Engagement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Boston
  • Checklist
  • Consanguinity
  • Cost Control
  • Female
  • Genetic Testing*
  • Humans
  • India
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Maternal Mortality
  • Maternal-Child Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Online Systems*
  • Patient Participation*
  • Patient-Centered Care / standards*
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Social Support
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology