Patient and family engagement: a framework for understanding the elements and developing interventions and policies

Health Aff (Millwood). 2013 Feb;32(2):223-31. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2012.1133.


Patient and family engagement offers a promising pathway toward better-quality health care, more-efficient care, and improved population health. Since definitions of patient engagement and conceptions of how it works vary, we propose a framework. We first present the forms engagement can take, ranging from consultation to partnership. We discuss the levels at which patient engagement can occur across the health care system, from the direct care setting to incorporating patient engagement into organizational design, governance, and policy making. We also discuss the factors that influence whether and to what extent engagement occurs. We explore the implications of our multidimensional framework for the development of interventions and policies that support patient and family engagement, and we offer a research agenda to investigate how such engagement leads to improved outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / methods*
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Family*
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Models, Organizational
  • Patient Participation / methods*
  • Patient Participation / psychology
  • Policy Making
  • Quality of Health Care / organization & administration