How is patient-centred care understood by the clinical, managerial and lay stakeholders responsible for promoting this agenda?

Health Expect. 2004 Jun;7(2):142-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1369-7625.2004.00264.x.


Aims and objectives: This study explores how the term patient-centred care is understood, particularly by those who are involved in translating the concept from a theoretical idea into a practical application. It examines the ways in which intermediate level stakeholders such as health service managers, educationalists, professional leaders and officers of patient bodies understand and promote patient-centred care among health professionals actually delivering patient care.

Design: Qualitative interview study.

Setting and participants: Interviewees were drawn from groups and organizations from four categories: health agencies and regulatory bodies, Royal Colleges and other professional bodies, educational institutions, patient and user groups and consumer organizations.

Main variables studied: The meanings and understandings of patient-centred care, commitment to implementing patient-centred care and barriers and opportunities to implementation.

Results and conclusions: Patient-centred care covers a range of activities from patient involvement in individual care to public involvement in health policy decisions. Current Department of Health policy has made patient-centred care a priority, but has not clarified exactly what it means. Thus, health professionals, educationalists, managers and patient representatives have all developed different meanings of patient-centred care to reflect their own particular backgrounds and roles. The individual aspects of patient-centred care have been neglected in policy terms and important research findings have not been incorporated into policies to change the attitudes and behaviours of health professionals. Developing a shared understanding of patient-centred care which encompasses all its components is an important role for the new Commission for Patient and Public Involvement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administrative Personnel / psychology*
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Organizational Objectives
  • Patient-Centered Care / organization & administration*
  • Patient-Centered Care / standards
  • Professional Competence
  • Public Policy
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • State Medicine
  • United Kingdom