Health expectations : an international journal of public participation in health care and health policy;
BACKGROUND: Patient empowerment can improve health-related outcomes and is important in chronic conditions, such as arthritis. This study aimed to validate the Health Care Empowerment Questionnaire (HCEQ), a patient-reported experience measure of empowerment, for use with patients with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. METHODS: The HCEQ measures Patient Information Seeking (or Involvement in Decisions) and Healthcare Interaction Results (or Involvement in Interactions) and asks respondents to answer questions in two ways: whether they feel something happened and its importance to them. Face validity was assessed through qualitative data (n = 8, nominal group technique; n = 55, focus groups). Measure structure was assessed through confirmatory factor analysis (CFA); internal consistency was also assessed (n = 9226). Test-retest reliability was assessed with sub-sample of participants (n = 182). RESULTS: We found adequate face validity of the HCEQ for patients with arthritis. The CFA indicated good fit to the data for the two-factor structure of the HCEQ (RMSEA = 0.075; CFI = 0.987; TLI = 0.978; SRMR = 0.026). Internal consistency was strong (α=0.94 for both subscales). Test-retest reliability was moderate for Patient Information Seeking (ICC=0.67) and good for Healthcare Interaction Results (ICC=0.77). CONCLUSIONS: The HCEQ, with modifications, demonstrated promising psychometric properties within this sample, laying the foundation for further assessment. This work supports the HCEQ as an appropriate instrument for examining experiences with and perceived importance of empowerment in individuals with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions. PATIENT CONTRIBUTION: Patients contributed to the assessment of face validity. As a measure of patient empowerment, the HCEQ's use can enable further participation of patients in health care.