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A portfolio of useful evidence of benefits for digitally-empowered patients

As part of its work, DigitalHealthEurope is putting together a portfolio of case studies offering evidence of benefit from digitally empowered patients (corresponding to Milestone 6 of the project).

Before listing useful materials that offer evidence of benefits for Europe’s digitally-empowered patients, it is good to understand:

  • What is patient empowerment?
  • What is digital health?
  • What benefits accrue to digitally-empowered patients?

What is patient empowerment

Patient empowerment has been defined as “a multi-dimensional process that helps people gain control over their own lives and increases their capacity to act on issues that they themselves define as important.” Collective empowerment is “a process through which individuals and communities are able to express their needs, present their concerns, devise strategies for involvement in decision-making, and take political, social, and cultural action to meet those needs.” (Adapted from work by the European Union Network for Patient Safety and Quality of Care [PASQ]). 


What is digital health and what does it mean for patients?

Digital health is a fast-developing area in which much of today’s activity is driven by technology or commercial concerns rather than patients’ needs. EPF wishes to position the patient community as a driver of innovation and start a debate on what patients need and want on a daily basis from the healthcare system and its organisation, and how technology should be serving these needs. As it is also a strategic priority for EPF for a decade now, in 2019, EPF has launched the Working Group on Digital Health (DHWG), with the aim of developing EPF’s overall strategy on digital health.  Throughout the last decade EPF has been involved in numerous EU-funded projects and initiatives on digital health thus bringing the patient perspective into these endeavours, but also shaping how the future healthcare service will look like.


Recent work by DigitalHealthEurope

DigitalHealthEurope has done a preliminary screening (a literature search). As a result, it has gathered together some examples of good practices and recommendations on patient empowerment and digital health. The portfolio of useful materials includes some position papers and policy statements produced and developed by DigitalHealthEurope partners, like the European Patients’ Forum and others.

This evidence strengthens positively the reasons to produce these two outcomes at the end of DigitalHealthEurope:

  • ”A Guide for scaling up digital solutions for citizen-healthcare professionals’ interaction”.

This guide will act as an empowerment roadmap for healthcare providers or larger scale healthcare ecosystems to become more successful at engaging with patients and caregivers.

  •  A “White paper on boosting active cooperation between patients and health and care providers”.

A portfolio of useful materials

1). How technology is empowering patients? A literature review, 2013 
2). Opinion leader empowered patients about the era of digital health: a qualitative study, 2019
3). What do patients and carers need in health apps - but are not getting, 2015
4). Powerful people: Reinforcing the power of citizens and communities in health and care, 2015
5). The Practice of Patient Centered Care: Empowering and Engaging Patients in the Digital Era, 2017
6). Digitally enabled patients, professionals and providers: making the case for an electronic health record in mental health services, 2015
7). Patient Innovation Platform Presentation, 2017
8). EPF Position paper on eHealth, 2016
9). EPF Campaign on Patient Empowerment: Roadmap for Action, 2015-2016
10). Empowered Patient are an Asset to Society, Conference Report, 2015