Terms like “patient engagement,” “digital health” and “customer experience” are thrown around a lot, and even though they’re used interchangeably, they have different meanings—ranging from wearing a fitness tracker, logging onto an online portal or getting appointment reminders via text. All of these concepts are related to a healthcare organization trying to improve patient satisfaction and patient outcomes.
Patient activation; however, is focused on putting this power in the hands of the patient. Patients can be engaged in conversations during doctor visits, dutifully reading brochures, or even searching for things on the internet—but being activated means doing more than those one, two or three things.
One in four Americans have multiple chronic conditions, those that last a year or more and require ongoing medical attention or that limit activities of daily living.4
People with chronic conditions are the most frequent users of healthcare in the U.S. They account for 81% of hospital admissions; 91% of all prescriptions filled; and 76% of all physician visits.5
So how do you activate more patients? And how do you ensure it will be effective? We think it starts with bringing the patient into the conversation — and learning from those experiences.
You must define your audiences, identify the gaps in their respective journeys and deliver the right message to the right individual through the appropriate channel. Understanding the uniqueness of each individual, pinpointing critical moments and tailoring content accordingly is critical when advancing patients inside the care pathway.
1Hibbard JH, Stockard J, Mahoney ER, Tusler M. Development of the Patient Activation Measure (PAM): conceptualizing and measuring activation in patients and consumers.Health Serv Res. 2004 ; 39 ( 4 Pt 1 ): 1005 – 26.
3Wu S, Green A. Projection of Chronic Illness Prevalence and Cost Inflation.
RAND Corporation, October 2000.
4Multiple Chronic Conditions—A Strategic Framework: Optimum Health and Quality of Life for Individuals with Multiple Chronic Conditions. Cdc-pdf External Washington, DC: US Dept. of Health and Human Services; 2010. Accessed November 18, 2014.
5Partnership for Solutions. Chronic Conditions: Making the Case for Ongoing Care. September 2004 Update. Available at: http://www.rwjf.org/files/research/
6Fowles JB, Terry P, Xi M, Hibbard J, Bloom CT, Harvey L. Measuring self-management of patients’ and employees’ health: further validation of the Patient Activation Measure (PAM) based on its relation to employee characteristics. Patient Educ Couns. 2009 ; 77 ( 1 ): 116 – 22.