Measuring patient activation: The utility of the Patient Activation Measure within a UK context-Results from four exemplar studies and potential future applications

Patient Educ Couns. 2016 Oct;99(10):1739-46. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2016.05.006. Epub 2016 May 9.


Objective: Patient activation can be measured using the Patient Activation Measure (PAM) developed by Hibbard et al., however, little is known about the uses of the PAM in research and in practice. This study aims to explore its differing utility in four UK exemplar sites.

Methods: Data from four exemplars in a range of health settings with people living with long-term conditions (i.e. stroke or COPD) were evaluated. PAM scores were described and explored in relation to clinical and sociodemographic variables and outcome measures.

Results: PAM scores illustrated that most with COPD or stroke reported PAM levels of 3 or 4, indicating that they are engaging, but may need help to sustain their scores. The exemplars illustrate the utility of, and potential issues involved in, using PAM as a process/outcome measure to predict activation and the effectiveness of interventions, and as a tool to inform tailoring of targeted interventions.

Conclusions: The PAM tool has been shown to be useful as an outcome measure, a screening tool to tailor education, or a quality indicator for delivery of care.

Practice implications: However good demographic and patient history are needed to substantiate PAM scores. Further work is needed to monitor PAM prospectively.

Keywords: Long term conditions; Patient activation; Self-management.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Patient Outcome Assessment*
  • Patient Participation / methods*
  • Patient Participation / psychology
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy*
  • Quality of Life
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Self Care / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / statistics & numerical data*
  • United Kingdom