To Improve Your Patient Activation  

Patient activation can play a key role in ensuring positive care and patient self-management. We’ve collected 3 strategies you can implement to improve patient activation. 

Patient activation is a patient’s knowledge, skill, and confidence for managing their health and health care. The more active a patient is, the more empowered and engaged they are in their well-being. Patient activation is, at its core, a behavioral concept focused on positive change in engagement. Research shows that patient activation, leads to improved health outcomes and reduces costs across the healthcare industry. 

Strategy 1: Giving Patients The Right Knowledge 

It would be difficult for a patient to engage in self-management activities if they’re not knowledgeable about their condition, treatments etc. That’s why healthcare providers should seek to educate their patients – using clear, simple language when doing so.  

An experiment published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2018, aimed to identify hypertension patients with low activation levels, and send them educational letters about their condition and treatments. 

“The letter included prior blood pressure readings, identified the patient’s blood pressure goal, quantified the relative cardiovascular risk reduction that would occur with achieving the goal, and provided suggestions for reaching that goal, namely, addition of a thiazide” the researchers said. 

The written letters, as well as a call to reiterate the information, helped improve patient activation – the researchers found. 

Strategy 2: Shared Decision-Making  

Engaging patients in shared-decision making on treatment plans, can help put patients in the center of their own healthcare. By sharing the decision, the patient has a stake in their treatment and an understanding of the next steps. 

A study published in the American Journal of Surgery in 2018, found that patient-reported outcomes for hypertension management, massively suffered when they lacked shared decision-making.  

Decreased decision-making was linked to higher emergency department utilization, lower use of statins or aspirin, and lower physical health and mental health scores. 

The researchers concluded that whilst these results don’t directly lead to better health, they do point to an increase in patient activation, which can result in better health. 

Strategy 3: Supporting The Patients – Even Outside Work Hours 

A lot of patients spend more time outside the hospital/clinic where they receive treatment. So, healthcare providers should be good at keeping communication channels open and reach out to patients, to ensure they remain active in their treatment. 

There are lots of patient portals, whereby healthcare providers can reach out to their patients. 

The Patient in Focus Perspective: 

It can be exceptionally hard for patients to understand what their condition does to their bodies little alone how their medication can help them manage their disease activities and symptoms. If patients are not well informed and included in the decision process, we are likely to not take it as seriously as required. This can lead to poor adherence rates, unnecessary dosage increases, and hospitalizations. If we do not understand this is the outcome we may be faced with, we may not take the appropriate actions because we haven’t bought into whatever the doctor tells us. It underlines the need for more communication. More communication increases understanding and heightens our buy-in.  

If you want patients to follow your instructions, talk to us so we feel heard and cared for.