Development and initial testing of a Health Confidence Score (HCS)

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Introduction Patients need to feel confident about looking after their own health. This is needed to improve patient outcomes and clinical support. With few suitable tools available to measure self-care health confidence, we developed and validated a short, generic survey instrument for use in evaluation and quality improvement. Methods The Health Confidence Score (HCS) was developed through literature review, patient and expert focus groups and discussions. This paper reports an initial survey (n = 1031, study 1) which identified some issues and a further face-to-face survey (n = 378, study 2) to test the construct and concurrent validity of the final version. Scores were correlated against the My Health Confidence (MHC) rating scale, howRu (health status measure) and relevant demographics. Results The HCS is short (50 words) with good readability (reading age 8). It has four items covering health knowledge, capability to self-manage, access to help and shared decision-making; each has four response options (strongly agree, agree, neutral disagree). Items are reported independently and as a summary score. The mean summary score was 76.7 (SD 20.4) on 0-100 scale. Cronbach's alpha = 0.82. Exploratory factor analysis suggested that the four items relate to a single dimension. Correlation of the HCS summary score with MHC was high (Spearman r = 0.76). It was also associated with health status (Spearman r = 0.49), negatively with number of medications taken (r=-0.29) and age (r=-0.22) and not with ethnicity, having children or education level. Conclusions The HCS is short, easy to use, with good psychometric properties and construct validity. Each item is meaningful independently and the summary score gives an overall picture of health confidence.




Benson, T., Potts, H. W. W., Bark, P., & Bowman, C. (2019). Development and initial testing of a Health Confidence Score (HCS). BMJ Open Quality, 8(2).

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