I Learned A Lot From PAM (Patient Activation Measure)

A few months back I posted a piece on how to improve HCP and patient engagement titled “Patient & Physician as HC Partners: The New Black in Healthcare“. The premise was ‘The question becomes how can we foster and accelerate this relationship? How can the HCP create a nutrient enriched environment where the 15-minute office visit presents greater productivity? One tool is to determine the problems the patient is seeking to solve. What are his or her healthcare issues, what do they need/want to understand, what can the HCP help guide the patient through?’

The key point supporting this was the recommendation that a simple inventory be done with each patient to determine their learning inventory. It was overly simple but at the time I thought it had value in a rudimentary way. 

These past couple of days I have been researching patient physician engagement in order to outline a study I think may have some value in mental health. Well guess what I found? Go on guess. There exists a validated tool that is reliable called the Patient Activation Measure (PAM). It was created by Judith H. Hibbard and has been widely used to determine what it means to be activated with your HCP as a patient. It showed that activation of patient engagement involves four stages 

1. Believing the patient role is important

2. Having confidence to take action

3. Actually taking action to maintain and improve health

4. Staying with it under stress

This is a very interesting tool and one that appears simple to administer but provides a great deal of information for both the HCP and the patient. My take away when finding this was “Oh darn I am so behind the times” But I now see this as a tool that can be adapted and worked with to really determine how patients learn and who would engage more readily and who would less and what can be done move those with lower desire or knowledge to activate. 

There is always something new to learn and this must be what patients face as they navigate an illness or caregiving. That is why I still believe and support the need for patient HCP engagement and measure.

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