This site is intended for health professionals only

Tool introduced to help 1.8 million patients manage their own health

26 April 2016

Share this article

Commissioners are being invited to apply for licences to join the roll-out of an evidence based tool to help 1.8 million patients with long-term conditions manage their own health.

NHS England has agreed a five-year deal to use the Patient Activation Measure (PAM) as part of its developing self care programme to help 15 million people with long-term conditions.

Around 40 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and other primary care organisations will be given free access to PAM licences in the first year. The application process is open until  Tuesday 17 May. 

They will include groups who are involved in the NHS’s change programmes such as new care model vanguards and integrated personal commissioner demonstrator sites.

London term conditions take up 70% of the NHS’s time. It is estimated that 25-40% of patients with long-term conditions have low levels of involvement in self-management of their health.

The PAM tool is licensed by US company Insignia Health LLC.

It is a short survey of up to 100 questions which help measure a patient’s engagement and confidence in managing their condition. However their PAM score is dynamic and may change when patients have increased knowledge about self-care or if they are diagnosed with an additional condition.

NHS England said it could help commissioners plan interventions, training and resources.

NHS England is working with Tower Hamlets, Sheffield, Islington, Horsham and Mid Sussex and Crawley and Somerset CCGs along with the UK Renal Registry to pilot the PAM.

NHS Horsham and Mid-Sussex CCG and NHS Crawley CCG together with Sussex County Council were commissioned to run telephone health coaching.

The PAM was used to help patients who were at risk of using healthcare more frequently to improve self-management of their condition.

Sheffield CCG is using the PAM tool with diabetic patients.

Dr Ollie Hart (pictured), who is clinical lead for person-centred care at Sheffield CCG said: “We have been finding Pam a really useful tool for tailoring our level of support and health coaching to match a person’s needs.

“By embedding it in our processes for supporting people with diabetes, we have gained a better understanding of patients’ needs and behaviours, allowing us to ensure that resources – particularly staff time – are being used more effectively for their benefit.”

An interim independent evaluation of the feasibility of using the PAM tool in the NHS in England by the University of Leicester suggested practical considerations. This included some discrepancies between the scores and coaches’ knowledge of patients.

It said coaches sometimes felt they were “cold calling” even though they were referred by their GP.

However it found that patients’ responses highlighted where they needed more information and helped identify their priorities.