Study: Patient Engagement is Associated With Better Patient Experience

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Patients who are more engaged in their care report a better experience than patients who are less engaged, according to a study in Health Affairs.

Researchers examined the link between patients' levels of activation — "the knowledge, skills and confidence a patient has for managing his or her health care" — and their experience. Study participants were 5,002 patients of 49 primary care providers at Minneapolis-based Fairview Health Services. Levels of activation were assessed using the Patient Activation Measure, which groups patients into one of four levels ranging from passive reception of care at level 1 to high engagement at level 4. Patients' experience was assessed through three questions patients answered on a four-point scale:

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1. "When you need care or treatment, how often does your regular doctor know important information about your medical history?"

2. "How often does your regular doctor or someone in your doctor's practice help you coordinate the care you receive from other doctors and places?"

3. "How easy or difficult is it to contact your doctor's practice during regular practice hours by telephone about a health problem?"

Patients who had the highest level of activation rated their provider 0.4 points more positively on each question compared with patients at the lowest activation level. Overall, patients with the highest activation level rated their experience 10 to 14 percent higher than patients with the lowest activation level.

The authors suggested that improving the patient experience will require engaging patients in their care in addition to training clinicians on customer service and other provider-focused strategies.

More Articles on Patient Experience:

4 Evidence-Based Strategies for Patient, Family Engagement
Study: Surgery Patients Give Worse HCAHPS Scores if Complications Arise
Study: Most Patient Complaints Cite Lack of Patient-Centered Care

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