Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2009

Citation

This profile was prepared when Albert Jovell was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Albert is redefining healthcare in Spain through a series of initiatives aimed at giving patients a central and participatory role in decisions concerning their health. On one hand, he is launching a series of research initiatives that focus on the patient’s experience within the public healthcare system and measure the impact of putting them in charge, highlighting possible improvements such as reductions in doctor’s visits and hospital admittances and an increase in patient’s compliance with treatments. He then uses these results to convince doctors and other professionals of the benefits in partnering with patients. Albert also works through the Patients Forum to advocate with healthcare policymakers to include patient representatives in the governing bodies of hospitals, healthcare policy boards and other institutions. The result is that both patients’ experiences and opinions are integrated into personal and institutional medical decisions.

Empowering patients with the knowledge and confidence necessary to understand and deal with their condition is central to Albert’s work. Research shows that the sense of independence that comes from learning how to care for oneself is critical in reversing the negative emotional and physical effects of long-term illnesses and boosting patients’ confidence and strength to fight back. Albert’s Patients University offers “expert patient” training courses and disease-specific itineraries that take individuals through the key phases of a disease, preparing them for every situation. These courses also prepare patients to partner with doctors in making important decisions concerning their health. Courses and materials are also available for family members and caregivers of chronic and acute patients as well as others interested in living healthier and more autonomous lives.

By leveraging readily available resources such as University and professional research teams, disease-specific patient associations and healthcare-related businesses, Albert’s healthcare initiatives are expanding quickly. He has also established the Patients University online so that content is free and available to anyone who is interested in it. In order to replicate throughout Spain and assure equal access to all, Albert is channeling his initiatives through local organizations that have already joined his Patients Forum, which currently includes over 685,000 members throughout the country. This allows him to engage patients both at the local and national levels to develop programs and influence public policy.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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