The relation between patient-centeredness and patient empowerment: a discussion on concepts

Patient Educ Couns. 2010 May;79(2):167-72. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2009.08.008. Epub 2009 Sep 11.


Objective: The concepts of patient-centeredness and patient empowerment offer opportunities for patients to increase their autonomy and involvement in their care and treatment. However, these concepts appear to be understood in different ways by professional groups involved in healthcare and research. To optimize understanding there is a need to create a common language. To explore and compare the concepts of patient-centeredness and patient empowerment, and clarify a possible relationship between the two from the perspective of the encounter between patients and their healthcare providers.

Methods: Concept analysis approach in which the concepts are compared based on literature review.

Results: Patient-centeredness can be the goal of an encounter between patient and caregiver. As a process, it is of great value in the process of patient empowerment. Patient empowerment appears to be broader than patient-centeredness, and may place greater demands on caregivers and the organisation of healthcare.

Conclusion: Patient-centeredness and patient empowerment are complementary concepts which do not oppose one-another. Patient empowerment can be achieved by patient-centeredness, but patients can also empower themselves.

Practice implications: Clarification of patient-centeredness and patient empowerment can facilitate their use by those involved in healthcare, improve the quality of healthcare, and aid future research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Patient-Centered Care*
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Terminology as Topic