Patient-centered care and adherence: definitions and applications to improve outcomes

J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2008 Dec;20(12):600-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7599.2008.00360.x.


Purpose: The implementation of patient-centered care (PCC) has been hampered by the lack of a clear definition and method of measurement. The purpose of this review is to identify the fundamental characteristics of PCC to clarify its definition, propose a method for measurement of PCC, and recommend effective PCC practices.

Data sources: Review of literature related to PCC, adherence and communication from Cinahl, PubMed Academic Search Premier, and Cochrane Library databases.

Conclusions: Research has shown that patient-centered interactions promote adherence and lead to improved health outcomes. The fundamental characteristics of PCC were identified as (a) patient involvement in care and (b) the individualization of patient care. The use of a numeric rating scale to measure the presence of these characteristics allows quantification from the patient perspective. Effective PCC practices were related to communication, shared decision making, and patient education.

Implications for practice: PCC is a measure of the quality of health care. Understanding the characteristics of PCC facilitates its implementation and measurement. Promoting PCC activities will improve adherence and encourage patient responsibility for health status.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Decision Making
  • Holistic Health
  • Humans
  • Models, Nursing
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Nursing Evaluation Research / organization & administration*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / organization & administration
  • Paternalism
  • Patient Care Planning / organization & administration*
  • Patient Compliance* / psychology
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Patient Participation / methods*
  • Patient Participation / psychology
  • Patient-Centered Care / organization & administration*
  • Philosophy, Nursing
  • Quality of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Self Care / methods
  • Self Care / psychology
  • Social Support
  • Total Quality Management / organization & administration*