Minneapolis, MN – Patient activation and education services “beyond the pill” have been a trend, and now there is some concrete value proof to all of it. A recent study published in the journal, Health Services Research, demonstrates that patients who are more actively involved in their care and management are less likely to be hospitalized or develop a chronic condition.

The study took place at an accountable care association, Fairview Health Services, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They looked at data from 98,142 patients, leveraging the Patient Activation Measure (PAM) test. The PAM survey is designed to track hundreds of consumer health characteristics – motivators, attitudes, behaviors and outcomes – and identify where an individual falls within four different levels of activation. The purpose is to give HCPs insight to more effectively support each individual.

All of the participants in the Minnesota study took a PAM test in 2011, and had at least one clinical visit in each subsequent year—2012, 2013, and 2014. The findings showed that the PAM score (how involved and “activated” they were) was a strong predictor of chronic disease development, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations for each subsequent year. The patients with a higher level of activation had less complications and issues down the line—even 3 years after the PAM score was generated. Appropriate interventions to get patients more engaged with their health could have far reaching (and enduring) benefits.

Why this matters:

At first glance, findings like these might seem pretty intuitive—more engaged patients do better. But deeper validation of patient activation and methods like the PAM score means that groups like ACOs may be able to start being more efficient in how they segment patient populations, create more tailored support solutions, and focus intervention efforts on those that might get the most benefit from them. Activation validation also becomes important when you look at the dollars that are flowing into various patient engagement solutions. The global market for such solutions was at $7.4 billion in 2015 and by 2024 is projected to climb to $39.3 billion. The trend is here to stay!


About the Author:

Jeffrey Giermek