by Wendy Bartlett / November 8, 2019

Patient Activation: Encouraging Healthcare Ownership

Patient activation is a patient’s willingness and ability to take independent actions to manage their healthcare. Dr. Judith Hibbard and her colleagues from the University of Oregon developed this definition and established a tool that measures activation and predicts a broad range of health-related behaviors and outcomes.


The Patient Activation Measure
The Patient Activation Measure® (PAM®) is a 10- or 13-item survey that assesses a person’s underlying knowledge, skills and confidence integral to managing his or her own health and healthcare. As a result, PAM reliably predicts a person’s future ER visits, hospital admission and readmission, medication adherence and more.

Multiple domestic and international studies have empirically demonstrated that people who score higher on the Patient Activation Measure are significantly more likely than people who score lower to engage in preventive behavior such as having regular check-ups, screenings, and immunizations. More highly activated people are also significantly more likely to engage in healthy behavior such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. Moreover, those who score higher are more likely to avoid health-damaging behavior such as smoking and illegal drug use. 

Less activated patients are also three times as likely to have unmet medical needs and twice as likely to delay medical care, compared with more activated patients. Highly activated patients are two or more times as likely as those with low activation levels to prepare questions for a visit to the doctor; to know about treatment guidelines for their condition; and to seek out health information, including comparisons of the quality of health care providers.1 

How can providers encourage patients to become activated so they take actions that lead to healthy outcomes? In their research, Deloitte concluded that understanding consumer attitudes and preferences across the patient journey can be central to supporting healthy behaviors, achieving better outcomes and improving the patient experience.2 In other words, providers who understand their patients, and engage them accordingly, open the door to impacting their behavior.


Opening the door to patient activation
Once that door is open, providers need to guide patients to the information they need to become active participants in their health. A robust patient portal allows patients to view essential information such as office visit notes, lab results, and medications. Live appointment scheduling and the ability to send secure messages to care teams are also features of a portal that helps patients take ownership of their health.

To that point, McKinsey and Company has found that giving patients accurate, meaningful and accessible information is the first step in empowering their decision making and enlisting them as partners in managing their health and the cost of their healthcare.3


The Patient’s Healthcare Hub
InteliChart’s Healthy Outcomes® patient engagement platform gives patients the tools they need and want to take an active role in their own healthcare. Our automated, targeted patient communication helps providers effectively manage their patients and encourage behaviors that lead to better outcomes.

Patient Portal, one of five solutions on the Healthy Outcomes platform, gives patients everything they need to manage their healthcare and the health of their entire family. Patient Portal provides one convenient location for accessing all their medical records, upcoming appointments, healthcare finances, care teams, telehealth, and intake/registration forms. Patients can access the portal through our mobile app or their favorite web browser.

Engaged patients are more likely to adhere to care plans and become active participants in driving their own healthcare. Establishing and maintaining consumer-patient engagement is important but it’s not the end goal. Giving patients the capability to understand their health and the means to actively participate in their care is the objective. InteliChart makes it possible with a smart, consumer-friendly portal solution that patients like to use and return to regularly.

1 https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/10.1377/hlthaff.2012.1061
2 https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/health-care/patient-engagement-health-care-consumer-survey.html
3 https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/enabling-healthcare-consumerism#