When patients play a larger role in their healthcare, they can cut medical costs for themselves and their employers. Being more active means more than just taking preventative measures to avoid chronic conditions and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, The Atlantic explains. Patients should understand their health conditions, ask the right questions, know their options and take part in treatment decisions.
A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Oregon compared information on 33,163 patients in a Minnesota healthcare delivery system. The study measured how engaged individuals were based on whether they agreed with statements like “I know how to prevent problems with my health,” and “I am confident I can tell a doctor my concerns, even when he or she does not ask.”
On average, the costs for patients with the lowest activation levels were 8 percent higher in the base year and 21 percent higher in the first half of the next year, compared to those with the highest activation levels.
“The study highlights the important role that patients play in determining outcomes,” study leader Judith Hibbard said in a statement, according to WTXF-TV.
Hibbard suggested communities adopt education programs to help people understand how they should be involved in the way they access and receive healthcare.