Researchers Test Survey Tool to Measure Patients' Participation in Their Health Care

Further development and refinement of a patient activation measure to assess consumers' active participation in their health care

From 2001 to 2006, researchers at the University of Oregon defined patient activation (the extent to which the patient is an active and informed health care consumer) as it relates to those with chronic illness (as well as those with no chronic illness), and developed and tested an instrument to measure patient activation.

Key Results

  • A survey instrument—called the Patient Activation Measure (in 13- and 22-item versions)—to assesses patient knowledge, skill and confidence for self-managing health care.

    Clinicians can assess individual patients and use the results to develop and implement tailored health care plans. Researchers can evaluate and compare interventions and health care delivery systems across populations. Health plans can segment their populations and more efficiently use their resources to deploy more help and attention to those low in activation.

Key Conclusions

  • According to the project team, "[T]he Patient Activation Measure (PAM) appears to be a valid and reliable instrument to measure activation."

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