Self-care is healthcare: Building an empowering patient journey
Is self-care the new healthcare? At XUND, we definitely think so and would even argue that self-care in healthcare is a way of mainstreaming patient empowerment. Self-care practices, combined with the power of digital therapeutics, help patients make informed healthcare decisions and feel more empowered and in control of their health.
In this insight, we dive deeper into how integrated, people-centered self-care approaches benefit patients and healthcare companies alike, what it takes to achieve these benefits, and how we at XUND think that patient empowerment is the future.
What is self-care in healthcare?
The WHO defines self-care as "the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health worker." Currently, 3.6 million people lack access to high-quality medical facilities globally; self-care activities can empower them to manage their health through, for example:
- Taking preventive action against diseases
- Using a digital health app to monitor their health indicators
A study of 155 countries by the Global Self-Care Federation found that self-care practices don’t just improve people’s quality of life but may also significantly reduce global healthcare expenditure. Mainstreaming self-care practices in the USA alone can save a total of $146 billion for the healthcare system.
Why is empowerment important in healthcare?
The WHO defines patient “empowerment” as “a process through which people gain greater control over decisions and actions affecting their health.” When patients and communities are health literate, this means that they:
- take charge of their health in ways that are meaningful to them
- recognize how to navigate the healthcare system with ease
- manage their symptoms confidently with their new knowledge
A common way people get information about their health conditions is from the internet. Because of this, we believe that building digital and health literacy makes sense. You might be familiar with digital health apps where you can receive reminders to take your medication on time or analyze your symptoms, like with XUND’s Symptom Check feature. These self-care practices are simple, accessible ways that people can use their health data to take preventive action. Digital therapeutics can even make it more likely that people with diabetes will take their medication regularly.
How we can achieve the benefits of self-care in healthcare
Here are some action steps we believe can help mainstream self-care in healthcare and empower patients on their journey:
- Improving the patient/provider relationship: when medical professionals and patients trust each other, this can make it more likely that patients adhere to treatment plans. A well-structured public healthcare system can increase patients’ trust and willingness to invest — particularly in contexts like the global COVID-19 pandemic.
- Using the right tools to build digital and health literacy: using certified medical apps that meet precise criteria backed by clinical evidence provides patients with reliable medical information. It empowers them to stay on top of their healthcare without direct medical intervention.
XUND: empowering patients on their healthcare journeys
At XUND, we're driven to improve accessibility to healthcare information and empower patients to build knowledge and understand their health better. Our technology provides patients with an informed assessment of what might be affecting their overall health and what next steps they could take — whether through self-care interventions or with the assistance of a medical professional.
Through evidence-based recommendations and advice, XUND empowers patients to make informed healthcare decisions, which can help them practice more effective self-care methods and have more productive discussions with their healthcare provider.
By putting patients at the heart of healthcare, medical professionals can work with a more holistic picture of their individual circumstances, lifestyle, and risks so that they avoid prescribing a “one size fits all” solution. One of XUND's main features, the Healthcheck, aims precisely for this — to provide a 360-degree picture of individual risk factors so that patients can receive more personalized recommendations for their health.