Data proves need for patient efficacy

By Andy H., Community Development Manager

AndyHernandezA recent poll by National Public Radio (NPR), the Robert Wood Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health provides interesting insights into how much control Americans believe they have over their own health:

  • Overall, 78 percent felt they had a great deal or quite a bit of control over their own health.
  • Half of the respondents who reported being in fair or bad health did not believe they had much control over their own health.
  • Individuals living in lower income households were twice as likely to believe they had little control as those in upper income households.
  • Furthermore, 31 percent of Hispanic respondents believed they had little control over their health.

Not surprisingly, those who reported feeling they had control over their own health were more likely to be actively involved in managing and improving their health. The individuals who reported feeling they did not have control of their own health were less engaged. In my opinion, this data confirms the need for education and empowerment to help promote a more capable and healthy public.

The poll's findings confirmed a link between an individual's personal belief system and his or her confidence in their ability to change a situation or make something happen. Control over one's circumstances, their self-efficacy, is a significant predicator of self-motivation and behavior change the research concluded.

Nurturing, encouraging and empowering patients and clients' self-efficacy is important. In addition, the need for engagement and education remains. We need all three.