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LifeMasters Introduces Health Activation Tool to Disease Management Participants

Innovator of the PAM™ Assessment in Chronic Disease Coaching

Irvine, Calif. (Vocus) March 2, 2009 -- In keeping with its commitment to implement the latest advances in behavior change, LifeMasters Supported SelfCare, Inc. is the first disease management company in the country to introduce a powerful health activation tool for use with its chronically ill participants.

The Patient Activation Measure™ (PAM™) was developed by Judith Hibbard, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Oregon to assess an individual's knowledge, skills and confidence in playing a role in one's own health and healthcare. By understanding participants' "activation levels," LifeMasters health professionals can better tailor participant coaching to an individual's level of activation, helping him or her identify and overcome barriers to behavior change.

"We know that higher levels of activation are correlated with improved self-care behaviors," said LifeMasters CEO Christobel Selecky. "By focusing on increasing a participant's activation level, our health coaches can help LifeMasters participants to develop self-efficacy and greater levels of motivation, which ultimately lead to greater confidence in managing their health. We are very excited about the potential that this tool provides us to improve outcomes and enhance sustained engagement."    

LifeMasters is a health improvement company with more than 15 years experience in developing scientifically based interventions that target key cost drivers such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, asthma, coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, cancer and musculo-skeletal pain. The company began piloting the PAM in 2005. In 2007, it completed a 2-call-center comparison study based on the PAM with Dr. Hibbard and her team and is now widely implementing the use of PAM across all LifeMasters sites and additional research is being considered.

LifeMasters coaches are trained in the use of motivational interviewing techniques - informed by the insight gained from the PAM tool - which allows them to focus on helping participants develop confidence in managing their health (depending on their activation level) rather than on encouraging behaviors they may not be ready to achieve.

The Patient Activation Measure, which is licensed and marketed by Insignia Health, consists of a 10 or 13-question survey that asks people about their beliefs, knowledge and confidence for engaging in a wide range of health behaviors. Based on responses to the survey, each person is assigned an activation score and level. The PAM segments participants into one of four progressively higher activation levels.

At the low end of the spectrum, individuals tend to be passive with regard to managing their health, and may fail to see the connection between their own behaviors and health outcomes. At the high end, individuals understand that relationship and have become good self-managers across a constellation of behaviors. However, even high activation level individuals may benefit from coaching to stay on course when stress occurs.

Answers to the PAM survey give the health professional insight into a participant's frame of reference and help facilitate tailored discussion about what a participant wants to work on. By periodically re-administering the survey and reviewing responses to individual items over time, changes in a participant's activation level can be reassessed and used as a guide for ongoing coaching.

"In using the PAM, LifeMasters is supporting consumers on a journey to improve the self-management competencies that drive health status, and in so doing, helping consumers unlock their potential to flourish," said Chris Delaney, Insignia's Chief Executive Officer.

The level of patient activation varies considerably in the U.S. population, with less than half of the adult population at the highest level of activation, according to a recent study by the Center for Studying Health System Change. More than 85 studies have documented the PAM's ability to effectively measure patient activation and to predict a range of behaviors in wide demographic variability. These include preventive behaviors such as exercise, diet, and smoking cessation, disease-specific self-management behaviors such as medication compliance and health monitoring, and consumer behaviors such as successful interaction with a healthcare provider.

Because of the strong correlation between activation and self-care behaviors, the PAM scores can also greatly enhance the credibility of reported outcomes. While return on investment and closing clinical gaps in care will always be important outcomes measures, the ability to demonstrate a concurrent improvement in activation increases the likelihood that those positive outcomes can be attributed to the health improvement program.

A research project between LifeMasters and Dr. Hibbard's team demonstrated that activation levels and health outcomes can be improved by tailoring participant care plans to the individual's activation level. The full results of this study are expected to be published in June of 2009.

About LifeMasters Supported SelfCare, Inc.
LifeMasters Supported SelfCare, Inc. is a leading provider of health improvement and condition management programs and services that create health partnerships among individuals and their physicians. The programs improve the quality of care for populations with risk factors and
chronic conditions and reduce healthcare cost trends for the nation's leading health plans, employers, retirement systems, labor unions/trusts and governmental organizations. LifeMasters offers programs for individuals with diabetes, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, asthma, cancer, depression and musculo-skeletal pain. LifeMasters' programs are holistically focused, support co-morbidities like depression, and facilitate lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation and weight loss. LifeMasters is accredited by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and URAC. More information can be found at

About Insignia Health
Insigna Health is committed to helping consumers develop the behaviors that are crucial to becoming more active and effective members of their own healthcare team. These efforts are anchored by the Patient Activation Measure and the self-management competencies revealed by this assessment tool. With this knowledge, Insignia's tailored coaching resources and self-care products can be leveraged to help individuals begin to master new positive behaviors that are realistic given one's current level of activation. Research has shown consistently that with increased activation comes better health and the more effective and efficient use of healthcare resources. More information can be found at


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Source: PRWeb
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