Patient Power Matters

According to a Commonwealth Fund–supported study in Health Affairs, patients at a large care delivery system in Minnesota who were identified as the most “activated”―that is, participated in treatment decisions and took part in managing their own care―had significantly lower costs than those who were the least activated.

In 2010, patients with the lowest activation “scores” had predicted average health care costs that were 8 percent higher than costs for patients with the highest activation scores.

  • Among patients with high cholesterol, those with the lowest activation scores had 12 percent higher predicted costs compared with patients with the highest activation scores. For patients with asthma, those with the lowest activation had 21 percent higher costs.
  • In the first half of 2011, patients with the lowest activation had 21 percent higher costs than patients with the highest activation. This analysis included outpatient care costs for both primary and specialty care, as well as laboratory costs.

See my earlier post on the international trend toward empowering patients.

Comments (6)

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  1. Andrew O says:

    Empower the patient with responsibility and tangible decision-driven choices in managing their own care? Who would have thought this type of empowerment links to reduced costs.

  2. Nancy says:

    This is not surprising to me.

  3. Gabriel Odom says:

    I feel like a streetcorner preacher here, but I see this as even more support for implementing EHRs.
    A good electronic health record system will allow the patient to keep up with lab work and tests as their provider releases them, and allows them to send quick questions back to their provider within the chart itself. I’ve seen patients email in pictures of rashes or injuries sustained on vacation, and their doctor responded within the day. Give the patient greater access to his/her own healthcare.
    After all, who cares more about you than you do?

  4. H. James Prince says:

    I have a MyChart, and I like the connectivity it gives me with my primary.

    This is a shameless plug by the way.

  5. Tyrus says:

    Interesting findings. I cant say that im suprised…

  6. Sadat says:

    Empowering the patient, and encouraging the patients to take greater ownership over their program, via incentive structure programs, may be key towards solving this health care crisis. Indeed, the major health ailments society struggles with are lifestyle induced, and so, empowering patients to take more responsibility over their care is going to be crucial.