Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Curiosity: Personality Types and Patient Engagement
There's a lot of talk and concern about patient engagement, and it runs the full spectrum, from doctors exasperated with non-compliant patients... to doctors overloaded with questions from patients enthusiastic about research... to patients overwhelmed by life, let alone all of the life-altering aspects of illness... to patients who've asked enough questions and read enough medical journals that they really should be invited to sit on research teams...
The world is a messy place. And thus, so is medicine.
What seems to be a big gap, is that so much of 'patient engagement' assumes that 'patients' are just that -- one big group of people interacting with the medical system, who should be expected to act the same way if they are 'engaged'.
I posit that some enterprising psychologist/psychologist/neuropsych out there could make millions and win speaking invites with a bestseller version of Love Languages for Patient Types. (Which of course I'd love to collaborate on -- KB, you know how to reach me ; )
And of course I have a personal theory of what they are but since I have no formal training beyond Psych 101, I thought I'd satisfy my curiosity with an incredibly informal, unscientific, assuredly flawed survey.
The biggest flaw, of course, is that it samples internet-savvy people who know about this blog. So.. mostly chronic illness patients who are already engaged enough to be on the internet looking for those in similar situations. Also: my dad.
So it isn't really asking the question of: does a personality type make a person more or less engaged in their healthcare.
But more a question of: does personality type lend itself to different types of engagement. (To which I'd hypothesize: Obviously.)
I mean, there's nothing I'd like better than to conduct all communication and test results and everything over email. But there are probably weird people out there who would actually like to talk to a person on the phone. So... if an office only calls people and I never pick up the phone, they are going to think I'm not 'engaged'. When really, I just hate talking on the phone and if you would just send me a text reminder about my next appointment and add my test results directly to a database I can pair with my fitness tracking data that would be awesome.
And far beyond communication styles, there's treatment plans and drug options and all the rest of it. One patient might thrive with a fitness program centered around goal-setting activities. One might balk at everything you suggest until a personal friend personally invites them to a group class.
And when faced with an illness, some patients need information. Some need community. Some thrive in busy offices where they can talk with people in the waiting room... Some (read: me) would jump through any hoop you created if you'd please just turn off the TV and encourage everyone to sit in silence. Okay, they can whisper if they must.
Anywho. I'm just saying: people are different.
Of course, personality is just the tip of the iceberg.
There are tons of factors affecting patient engagement -- length of time they've been sick, education, geography, family support.... This survey controls for none of those. It's just a survey. Because I'm curious.
I expect the main outcome will be that I will discover how poorly I've worded the questions and answers. But on the upside, I might learn something for next time. If I decide to do it again.
In any event, here it is.
BTW: I expect to gather and summarize results (if there are any) early August. And feedback is appreciated and will be taken into consideration. Thanks!