Can patients manage their own health?

'The patient as a partner, the patient as a co-producer in healthcare, the patient as a decision maker: self-management and ownership are common terms in healthcare policy. Many people are simply incapable of managing their own health in a proactive way. Patient organisations, healthcare providers, health insurers and governments aren't paying enough attention to the differences among patients. And these differences certainly deserve attention.

Patient-oriented care can only truly be implemented if professionals start focusing on the different needs, wishes and skills of patients.' These are the words of Professor Jany Rademakers, who delivered her inaugural address on the 13th May in acceptance of her Health Skills and Patient Participation chair at the UM Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences at the University of Maastricht.

Jany Rademakers