According to a Commonwealth Fund–supported study in Health Affairs, patients at a large care delivery system in Minnesota who were identified as the most “activated”―that is, participated in treatment decisions and took part in managing their own care―had significantly lower costs than those who were the least activated.

In 2010, patients with the lowest activation “scores” had predicted average health care costs that were 8 percent higher than costs for patients with the highest activation scores.

  • Among patients with high cholesterol, those with the lowest activation scores had 12 percent higher predicted costs compared with patients with the highest activation scores. For patients with asthma, those with the lowest activation had 21 percent higher costs.
  • In the first half of 2011, patients with the lowest activation had 21 percent higher costs than patients with the highest activation. This analysis included outpatient care costs for both primary and specialty care, as well as laboratory costs.

See my earlier post on the international trend toward empowering patients.