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2022 State of Cancer Patient Empowerment Report

Woman and man in a kitchen standing over a computer. Man is holding a device.

Healthcare organizations typically look at patient engagement–combined with treatment adherence and outcomes–as key measures of success. But these measures fail to assess patient empowerment: patients’ ability to act on their health goals. Bolstering engagement can activate patients to become more proactive, but it really is a measure of patient participation in a care journey (e.g., diagnosis, treatment, adherence, recovery). However, engagement is defined by those shaping the care journey, and it does not measure how patients shape that journey for themselves based on personal values. Simply, measuring engagement alone ignores patients’ wishes about their own life and care. 

Outcomes4Me, in collaboration with the HLTH Foundation, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and Publicis Health, set out to define and measure patient empowerment and to understand if cancer patients feel empowered to proactively manage their own care. Operating under a hypothesis that patients are not fully informed of all of their options nor enabled to influence how those options shape the stages of care, all four partners believe that: ‘We cannot move what we do not measure’, and that a lack of empowerment is a systemic issue that ultimately affects patients, providers, and the entire healthcare system. 

A clear understanding of the state of patient empowerment will help healthcare organizations better incorporate patients’ ability to act on their health goals in their development of patient touch points and transactions, and to adopt measures of empowerment among key metrics for success in care delivery. It will also ensure patients’ informed voices are heard. 

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