With 60 to 70 per cent of premature deaths caused by detrimental health behaviours, it is vital that people engage more with improving their own health. This paper introduces a way of conceptualising and measuring that engagement known as ‘patient activation’.
Patient activation can be used to reduce health inequalities and deliver improved outcomes, better quality care and lower costs. Drawing on US and UK-based evidence, the paper describes the robust patient-reported measure – the PAM – used to gauge patient activation. PAM measures an individual’s knowledge, skill, and confidence for self-management. Research shows that appropriately designed interventions can increase patients’ levels of activation, with associated health benefits. The paper explores how this is being achieved in practice and offers recommendations for extending early use of the PAM in the United Kingdom.