With preventable diseases becoming a larger part our everyday lives, patients are now expected to take a higher level of responsibility for their own health.
However, it’s a little unfair to expect this of patients if they aren’t provided with the best possible information to help achieve this. Generally, healthcare professionals have been a little lax on providing this for the modern age while there might leaflets galore in the GP surgery sometimes there just isn’t as much information on you GP website.
Thankfully this has been changing as health organisations embrace the need for a reliable online presence. A good example of this is the NHS Choices website which has become a bright shiny beacon for trustworthy health information and easy to follow advice. The beauty of the site is that it isn’t punitive. While it gives advice for patients on touchy subjects such as how to lose weight, drink less and stop smoking, it doesn’t give you a lecture for needing help doing these things. Which is very important, it’s often difficult to accept that it’s your own fault that you’re ill or that something you enjoy is bad for you. So getting advice for a non judgemental source can actively increase the chances of a patient making the right health choice for them. It also improves patient satisfaction, they’re getting the help they want and need while not having to feel like they’re being judged.
Some CCG’s have even gotten in on the action and become centres for helpful information for patients by developing web apps to help them get the best information possible. The Bracknell and Ascot CCG web app has been very successful especially in the provision of minor illness information. It’s even featured on the homepage of the Forest Health Group website, becoming a valuable asset to their fight to reduce A&E admissions and appointments made for minor illnesses.