The Challenge of Medical Empowerment

If people can make themselves healthy, should we blame them for getting sick? That is the stark question raised not only by the idea that people should assume some responsibility for their health by eating right, exercising, and so forth, but also by the exciting – and necessary – new trend toward patient empowerment.

ABU DHABI – If people can make themselves healthy, should we blame them for getting sick? That is the stark question raised not only by broadening acceptance of the idea that people should assume some responsibility for their health by eating right, exercising, and so forth, but also by the exciting – and necessary – new trend toward patient empowerment.

Of course, the list of “good behavior” can get downright tiresome. But the question of personal responsibility is arising more and more.

“Don't blame me for being fat!” said Lizmari Collazo at the recent Medicine X Conference at Stanford University, where a group of researchers, doctors, and caregivers met to discuss (among other things) the new world of patient-generated health. To his credit, organizer Larry Chu also invited a group of patients: “Don't just talk about them,” was his message to the practitioners. “Talk with them!”

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