Background: International patient centredness concepts were suggested but never conceptualized from the patients' perspective. Previously, a literature review and a monolingual qualitative study defined 'patient-centred infertility care' (PCIC). The present study aimed to test whether patients from across Europe value the same aspects of infertility care.
Methods: An international multilingual focus group (FG) study with 48 European patients from fertility clinics in Austria, Spain, the UK and Belgium, with deductive content analysis.
Results: All specific care aspects important to participants from all countries could be allocated to the 10 dimensions of PCIC, each discussed in every FG, including: 'information provision', 'attitude of and relationship with staff', 'competence of clinic and staff', 'communication', 'patient involvement and privacy', 'emotional support', 'coordination and integration', 'continuity and transition', 'physical comfort' and 'accessibility'. Most specific care aspects (65%) were discussed in two or more countries and only a few new codes (11%) needed to be added to the previously published coding tree. Rankings from across Europe clearly showed that 'information provision' is a top priority.
Conclusions: The PCIC-model is the first patient-centred care (PCC) model based on the patients' perspective to be validated in an international setting. Although health-care organization and performance differ, the similarities between countries in the infertile patients' perspective were striking, as were the similarities with PCC models from other clinical conditions. A non-condition specific international PCC model and a European instrument for the patient centredness of infertility care could be developed. European professionals can learn from each other on how to provide PCC.