I have to admit to a certain amount of impatience with most debates about patient engagement. Much like a conversation about gun control or abortion, many people have established their opinions without a lot of critical thought and conversations devolve quickly into repetition.
In this environment, it was super-refreshing to read Judith Hibbard and Jessica Greene’s commentary on their Health Affairs article, “What the Evidence Shows about Patient Activation.” With apologies in advance, I’ll try to boil out the key points of the article:
- You can objectively measure “Patient Activation” – how able and willing individuals are to manage and participate in their own care.
- Evidence shows a correlation between this score and better outcomes.
- Emerging data indicates a correlation between the score and lower costs, although there is less data here to draw conclusions from.
- Interventions can impact an individual’s Patient Activation score.
Taken all together, the message of the piece for me is something that we see anecdotally with our HealthVault partners every single day: investing in creating more educated, informed and empowered patients (citizens/individuals/members) will help make people healthier, and reduce their healthcare costs.
HealthVault can help you there. Whether you build full-fledged programs to support chronic care, or simply help folks jumpstart a personal record and point them at great tools like those built by AARP or AHA … there is a way for our work to benefit yours.
The evidence is increasingly clear — so I hope the day is near when I’ll stop hearing “patients don’t want” or “patients aren’t able” nonsense. Instead, let’s concentrate on identify the best interventions, and scale them up to really make things better!