Understanding patient activation is essential in move toward value-based payment models

By Shannon Geis, MA
September 1, 2017
Body of Knowledge Domain(s): Patient-Centered Care

As practices move into value-based payment models, the patient themselves must have some stake in the game to see improved outcomes, explains Pamela Ballou-Nelson, RN, MSPH, PhD, senior consultant, MGMA Health Care Consulting Group, in this episode of the MGMA Small Talk podcast. That is why she believes practices need to start implementing techniques to improve patient activation.

“Patient activation is a bit different than engagement and compliance,” says Ballou-Nelson. “When we are talking about compliance we are looking at a person who follows whatever it is we say. When we are looking at engagement, we are looking at a person who shows up – who is attentive – but activation is [a patient] who has knowledge, skill and confidence.”

This is important because “bending the cost curve is going to require that the consumer is able to manage their healthcare” to prevent many of the chronic diseases prevalent among patients today and improve outcomes, says Ballou-Nelson.

One way to improve patient activation is to break away from treating every patient the same way. “Patients are at different levels. Therefore, we must at the practice understand the level that our patients are at with their self-management skills and teach and talk and work with patients at that level,” says Ballou-Nelson. “That is very critical for us.”

Listen to the full episode to learn more about how to improve patient activation in your practice.  

Learn more about patient activation and how to get access to some of the tools Ballou-Nelson mentions by visiting the MGMA Health Care Consulting Group.

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Shannon Geis, MA, Staff writer/editor, MGMA

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