Patients have knowledge, understanding, and power. Patients should be a part of the medical education process from day one

Many medical educators expressed to us their desire to see medical students and other health professionals-in-training learn about the aspects of a patient’s experience with health and illness outside of the healthcare setting. For example, what is it like for a person with diabetes to go to work, or to shop for food? What is it like for a person to store and take medication in their home, or exercise on a regular basis? Many of the educators who raised this subject with us emphasized that the training of health professionals should involve, from the very beginning, engaging patients from the community as “teachers” about the many facets of the patient experience. Some specialties, such as occupational therapy, are more accustomed to focusing on these everyday aspects of life, but many people with whom we spoke emphasized that health professionals would benefit from increased training on how to better focus on these daily life factors.