Objective: The objective of this study was to describe the involvement of patients or their representatives in quality management (QM) functions and to assess associations between levels of involvement and the implementation of patient-centred care strategies.
Design: A cross-sectional, multilevel
Study design: that surveyed quality managers and department heads and data from an organizational audit.
Setting: Randomly selected hospitals (n = 74) from seven European countries (The Czech Republic, France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Turkey).
Participants: Hospital quality managers (n = 74) and heads of clinical departments (n = 262) in charge of four patient pathways (acute myocardial infarction, stroke, hip fracture and deliveries) participated in the data collection between May 2011 and February 2012.
Main outcome measures: Four items reflecting essential patient-centred care strategies based on an on-site hospital visit: (1) formal survey seeking views of patients and carers, (2) written policies on patients' rights, (3) patient information literature including guidelines and (4) fact sheets for post-discharge care. The main predictors were patient involvement in QM at the (i) hospital level and (ii) pathway level.
Results: Current levels of involving patients and their representatives in QM functions in European hospitals are low at hospital level (mean score 1.6 on a scale of 0 to 5, SD 0.7), but even lower at departmental level (mean 0.6, SD 0.7). We did not detect associations between levels of involving patients and their representatives in QM functions and the implementation of patient-centred care strategies; however, the smallest hospitals were more likely to have implemented patient-centred care strategies.
Conclusions: There is insufficient evidence that involving patients and their representatives in QM leads to establishing or implementing strategies and procedures that facilitate patient-centred care; however, lack of evidence should not be interpreted as evidence of no effect.
Keywords: hospital care, hospital, patient involvement; patient-centred care; quality management; quality measurement.