C9 - Patient empowerment – Myth or reality?

Conference Hall A - Section D

Organised by FIP’s Community Pharmacy Section, in collaboration with the Social and Administrative Pharmacy Section


Lars-Åke Söderlund (Apoteket AB Healthcare, Sweden) and Timothy Chen (The University of Sydney, Australia)


Patient empowerment is growing and continues to shape how health care is being delivered. Three important factors are driving the behaviours of the more informed healthcare consumer: the rise of digital health, a shift in attitude around the patient-provider relationship, and cost constraints

Framing patients as consumers is a new development that reflects their growing involvement in health care: Patients receive care while customers make choices. Engaged patients follow treatment regimens from their physicians, but engaged consumers are responsible for their health status and associated costs. An empowered healthcare consumer has the knowledge, ability, resources and motivation to identify and make healthy choices.

As health care shifts to a truly patient-centred model ― from the century of the physician to the century of the patient — healthcare professionals are seeing the importance of helping people take a more active role in their own health care. With a little help, consumers can learn how to manage their diabetes, their children’s asthma or how to navigate the complexities of cancer care.

Trying to keep track of the numerous medicines and therapies that are prescribed can be a daunting task for a patient, especially for those with low health literacy. It is imperative that each healthcare professional is able to have the patient share in the decision making on what will work best for them to increase the chance that they will participate in keeping themselves healthy.

Together as a team of providers, patients and caregivers, we can make a difference to improve the quality of each patient’s life. We can motivate one another and empower our patients and their caregivers with constant education, clinical reminders, guidance from best practices and team efforts to make their health journeys, in order to help them achieve their heath goals and improve their quality of life.

  • Patient empowerment in the health care context means promoting autonomous self-regulation so that the individual’s potential for health and wellness is maximised.
  • Patient empowerment begins with information and education and includes seeking out information about one’s own illness or condition, and actively participating in treatment decisions.
  • Empowerment requires the individual to take care of him- or herself, and to make choices about care from among the options identified by the health professional.


14:30 – 14:35 Introduction by the chairs

  1. 14:35 – 15:00 Patient empowerment through digitalisation
    Carl Schneider (The University of Sydney, Australia)
  2. 15:00 – 15:25 Empowered patients versus empowered consumers ― The role of pharmacy
    Ratna Devi (DakshamA Health / Board International Alliance of Patient Organisations, India)
  3. 15:25 – 15:50 We extended the customer meeting from five minutes to 12 weeks: Health Active — A unique service for diabetes patients
    Louise Skalin (Apoteket AB, Sweden)

15:50 – 16:10 Coffee/tea break

  1. 16:10 – 16:45 Patient empowerment ― A new attitude and five pharmacy and healthcare takeaways
    Robinah Kaitiritimba (Uganda National Health Users/Consumers Organisation, Uganda)
  2. 16:45 – 17:20 Panel debate and take-home messages

17:20 – 17:25 Conclusion by the chairs

17:25 – 17:30 Room refresh

Learning Objectives

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the value of patient empowerment
  2. Explain the difference between empowered patients and empowered consumers
  3. Outline how pharmacy services can support patient empowerment
  4. Outline a strategy on how to improve patient empowerment, benefiting the patient as well as the pharmacist.

Type of session: Knowledge-based