A major theme of my work last year was that it’s time to create a science of patient engagement (see blog posts) – a rigorous inquiry into what patient engagement is, what factors (parameters) increase it, which ones diminish it, develop some hypotheses that researchers can test. This was the theme of my visit to the Mayo Clinic as Visiting Professor in Internal Medicine in March and my tenure as NEHI’s Patient Engagement Fellow.
A science needs practical definitions. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions notes that until a field has an agreement on what a concept means, the practitioners in the field literally have nothing in common to talk about. I’ve seen that myself, when people talk about empowerment but the field goes nowhere.
It’s time for definitions.