Well, today’s the day. After many months of long, hard work by many talented professionals — among them, Sarah Greene, managing editor; co-editors Jessie Gruman and Charles Smith; and Alan Greene, deputy editor — the Journal of Participatory Medicine is now live!
What is the Journal of Participatory Medicine? And what the heck is “participatory medicine” and how does it relate to mental health?
The second question first. Participatory Medicine is a cooperative model of health care that encourages and expects active involvement by all connected parties (patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals, etc.) as integral to the full continuum of care. The ‘participatory’ concept may also be applied to fitness, nutrition, mental health, end-of-life care, and all issues broadly related to an individual’s health.
While we may think of this model most readily with medicine — patient in a bed with a life-threatening condition, doctor in white coat barking orders and what’s going to happen next — medicine must be considered most broadly defined in this context (indeed, many hours were spent on arguing whether “healthcare” shouldn’t have been substituted for medicine, to be more inclusive of all health professions). In this way, this model encompasses mental health care as well. Patients cannot be passive vessels waiting for “change” to just happen. It will not. It requires the patient’s active participation.
We actually see this no more clearly than in mental health care. Psychotherapy doesn’t work just based upon the expertise and skill of the therapist. The only patient in psychotherapy that gets better is one that actively is involved in their treatment, and participates in their own change. Yet another idea that psychology can teach to medicine.
The Journal of Participatory Medicine will therefore serve as a vehicle for communication of this concept. It seeks to explore the extent to which shared decision-making in health care, and deep patient engagement, affect outcomes. The Journal’s mission is to transform the culture of medicine to be more participatory. The Journal is an online-only, open-access journal — meaning it costs nothing to read its articles. If you’d like to engage in the discussion regarding an article, free registration at the site is required.
An empowered, informed patient will be the model of care for the future. Healthcare providers, such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, surgeons and others, can either accept this partnership and embrace it, or they can reject it and try and to continue the old “doctor knows best” philosophy, one that is sorely outdated and no longer in step with the times.
The Journal is a project of the newly formed nonprofit Society for Participatory Medicine (of which I serve on the board and as Treasurer). The Journal receives no advertising or outside funding — it is funded solely by the Society. The Society is membership-supported, and you can learn more about membership here.
Please, take a moment to check out the Journal of Participatory Medicine, and let us know what you think!