Chronic illnesses account for 60 percent of deaths and 70 percent to 80 percent of health care spending in developed countries. One of the keys to reducing chronic disease mortality and costs is greater patient self-management. By helping patients take an active role in their care and treatment, health care providers can transform the impact chronic illness has on patients, communities, and the health care system. Successful self-management, however, requires doctors to transform their role from provider to collaborator—a change many clinicians do not embrace.
What the Study Found
For this study, researchers used a new survey tool—the Clinician Support for Patient Activation Measure—to explore the views of clinicians in the United Kingdom and United States with regard to patient self-management. Respondents strongly endorsed the idea that patients should follow medical advice but were less likely to support the idea that patients should be able to make independent judgments or actions. Less importance was attached to patients being able to function as members of care teams, and least important was the idea of patients independently seeking information.
The researchers conclude that clinicians' views are "out of step" with emerging professional codes and standards for performance, as well as with "larger health policy directions that seek to engage consumers and patients to be informed and activated managers of their own care." The findings indicate that the new measure is a reliable means of assessing clinician beliefs about patient self-management.