Patient Engagement or Patient Activation?

posted on Thursday, February 18, 2016

Patient Engagement or Patient Activation?

For the last few years, the healthcare world has been all abuzz about patient engagement – improving the relationship between the patient and the medical practice and provider. For example: How the practice can deliver a better patient experience. How providers can communicate more to build relationships with patients. How providers can help patients be healthier.

But what about the patient’s role in managing their health? It’s called Patient Activation. Health Affairs (2013) published four levels of patient activation.

Level 1: Disengaged and overwhelmed – perspective is “doctor is in charge of my health.”

Level 2: Becoming aware, but still struggling – perspective is “I could be doing more.”

Level 3: Taking action – perspective is “I’m part of my healthcare team.”

Level 4: Maintaining behaviors and pushing forward – perspective is “I’m my own advocate.”

What are the tools we can give patients to be more active in managing their healthcare?

  • A health app?
  • Patient education materials?
  • A prescription for more exercise and a better diet?
  • Better social networks for support?
  • Digital reminders?

Well maybe the best answer is all of the above. It’s called the Connected Patient. More on that next week.

  1. patient activation