AMA VICDOC SPRING 2021 - Flipbook - Page 25
The more activated patients are, the more the
costs associated with the burden of disease are
reduced for both the individual and society.
elivering patient-centred care and supporting
patients to be actively involved in their
healthcare is something that we as GPs are
well placed to do. Our trusted relationship
with patients, affords us insight to our patients and
the opportunity to undertake meaningful discussions
on preventing and/or managing health conditions.
Our ongoing relationship with patients affords us
the privilege of witnessing the real difference we
can make to patients’ lives when we encourage and
support them in taking positive actions to improve
their health outcomes.
With chronic disease the leading cause of
premature morbidity and mortality in Australia, and
with many of the risk factors for chronic disease able
to be changed or controlled by the patient, supporting
patient activation plays an important role in disease
prevention and management. The more activated
patients are, the more the costs associated with the
burden of disease are reduced for both the individual
Activating patients to be more engaged in their
healthcare and to take more control of their health
can reduce health inequalities, deliver improved
outcomes, support better quality care and deliver
I know the more activated a patient is, the more
likely they will attend preventive health screenings,
immunisations, regular check-ups and participate
in good behaviours such as eating a healthy diet
and regularly exercising. For those with chronic
conditions, the more activated they are the more
likely they are to adhere to their treatment and to
monitor their condition.
Activated patients who have undergone surgery
are also more likely to have better rates of recovery.
Our more motivated patients are more likely to
have clinical indicators in a normal range. Patient
activation is also relevant for our patient’s mental
health, with those more activated likely to have a
positive outlook, healthier coping strategies and
greater medication compliance while being less likely
to participate in substance abuse. Conversely those
with low activation are more likely to have unmet
medical needs and to delay medical care.
The remuneration structure for GP attendances
needs modification to allow for the additional
time required for patient activation.
Patient activation, is underpinned by:
»a positive and respectful relationship between
the doctor and patients
»the assessment of a patient’s illness, needs
»the assessment of a patients’ knowledge,
motivation, capacity and support systems
»strong patient education and utilisation of
» shared decision-making strategies.
Determining a patients’ ability and capacity to
engage in their healthcare, understand their condition
and its implications, make prescribed lifestyle changes
and adhere to medication regimens and to treatment
or management plans are already fundamental aspects
of the general practitioner – patient relationship.
However, this work needs to be better resourced,
so as GPs we can more fully support our patients to
improve their health outcomes. The remuneration
structure for attendances needs modification so the
additional time required with patients on activities
such as this are not devalued. We could also be better
supported with ready access to tools, integrated
into our clinical software, for assessment, behaviour
guidance and improvement monitoring. This should
all be backed by a model of blended funding that
rewards both the facilitation and delivery of
The AMA understands that enhancing patient
activation is on the reform agenda and is in principle
supportive of this, provided it reinforces the centrality
of general practice, is appropriately funded and utilises
codesigned and validated measures that are integrated
within clinical software.
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