Supporting people to manage their own health: An introduction to patient activation

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This half-day seminar, organised in partnership with NHS England and the Health Foundation, introduced patient activation, a concept which captures the capability a person has to manage their own health, and explore how an understanding of this is being used to support the delivery of person-centred care and tackle health inequalities.

The event launched The King’s Fund’s new paper that explores patient activation and looked at the growing interest in patient activation in the UK, providing an introduction to the concept and its relationship to health outcomes.

Leaders in the development and use of patient activation from the USA and UK discussed how the measurement of patient activation can inform our understanding of health inequalities, and how it is being incorporated into the design of interventions and care pathways to deliver person-centred care and maximise resource allocation.

What is patient activation?

The health and social care system faces unprecedented funding pressures and significant future challenges. In order to respond to the needs of an aging population, the changing burden of disease and rising patient expectations, the role that individuals play in managing their health has come into the spotlight.

Playing an active role requires individuals to both understand their role in managing their health and take appropriate action. Patient activation is a unique behavioural concept which describes the knowledge, skills and confidence a person has in doing this that is directly linked to their health outcomes.

With an established measure of patient activation, providers and commissioners are increasingly able to use this information to maximise involvement and tailor care according to the capabilities of an individual to deliver improved health outcomes.