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The Patient Engagement Pill: Lessons From Epilepsy


February 7th, 2013

The pharmaceutical drugs developed over the past two decades have helped us more effectively manage, and in some cases dramatically change, the outcomes of patients with hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and even some cancers. Increasingly, though, the stroke of a prescription pen doesn’t solve all patient problems. Nor does it solve the problems in our health systems.

To really fulfill the potential of health care, we need patients who are engaged, patients who take “actions (as) individuals … to obtain the greatest benefit from the health care services available to them.” (See Exhibit one below, click to enlarge)

Leonard Kish recently called patient engagement “the blockbuster drug” of the century. It’s an exciting idea and an apt label that raises an interesting question: what would an “engagement pill” actually look like?

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