Sunday, April 02, 2006

Development of the Patient Activation Measure : conceptualizing and measuring activation in patients and consumers

Development of the Patient Activation Measure : conceptualizing and measuring activation in patients and consumers: "Two significant emerging policy directions put patients and consumers in a key role for influencing health care quality and costs. First, consumer-directed health plans rely on informed consumer choices to contain costs and improve the quality of care. This approach assumes that consumers will make more prudent health and health care choices when they are given financial incentives along with access to comparative cost and quality information. This approach also assumes that the combination of financial incentives and relevant information will increase their 'activation' (Gabel, Lo Sasso, and Rice 2002). Second, the Chronic Illness Care Model (Bodenheimer et al. 2002) emphasizes patient-oriented care, with patients and their families integrated as members of the care team. A critical element in the model is activated patients, with the skills, knowledge, and motivation to participate as effective members of the care team (Von Korff et al. 1997).
A key health policy question is, what would it take for consumers to become effective and informed managers of their health and health care? What skills, knowledge, beliefs, and motivations do they need to become 'activated' or more effectual health care actors? These are essential questions if we hope to improve the health care process, the outcomes of care, and control costs. This is true especially with regard to the 99 million Americans with a chronic disease. Because those with chronic illness need ongoing care, account for a large portion of health care costs, and must play an important role in maintaining their own functioning, encouraging their activation should be a priority.
Even though patient activation is a central concept in both the consumer driven health care approach and the chronic illness care models, it remains conceptually and empirically underdeveloped. There has been a lack of conceptual clarity regarding 'activation,' and thus a lack of adequate measurement. "
Here's a clever way of identifying what an "activated patient" looks like !

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