A recent article in The Wall Street Journal highlights the increased quantitative assessment of “patient activation”. What was once more of a feel-based measure can now be scored on a 0 to 100 scale by asking patients how strongly they agree with a series of statements, such as “I am confident that I can tell a doctor my concerns, even when he or she does not ask.”
The article also cites a study conducted by Fairview Health Services in Minneapolis, where across a sample of more than 33,000 patients, those with the lowest activation scores had medical costs up to 21% higher than those with the highest scores. Readmission rates are higher among the lowest activation scores as well. The Journal of General Internal Medicine found that this group has nearly twice the risk of 30-day post-discharge hospital admission as patients with higher activation.
So what actions can providers take to increase patients’ confidence in managing their health? Increased communication should certainly be a key area of emphasis. Automating those communications while offering interactive response options via phone calls, emails and text messages can be an effective method for increasing reach without sacrificing opportunities for quality interactions.
As Dr. Eric Bieber of University Hospitals says in the WSJ article: “Part of the challenge is how to touch all the people you have to touch, and will anyone have the resources.”
How are you connecting with patients to help them feel more engaged and in control of their care? What tools and strategies are you implementing to “touch all the people you have to touch”?