Measuring the quality of patient-centered care: why patient-reported measures are critical to reliable assessment

Patient Prefer Adherence. 2015 Jun 24;9:831-5. doi: 10.2147/PPA.S81975. eCollection 2015.


Purpose: The Institute of Medicine (IOM) identified patient-centeredness as crucial to quality health care. The IOM endorsed six patient-centeredness dimensions that stipulated that care must be: respectful to patients' values, preferences, and expressed needs; coordinated and integrated; provide information, communication, and education; ensure physical comfort; provide emotional support; and involve family and friends. Patient-reported measures examine the patient's perspective and are essential to the accurate assessment of patient-centered care. This article's objectives are to: 1) use the six IOM-endorsed patient-centeredness dimensions as a framework to outline why patient-reported measures are crucial to the reliable measurement of patient-centered care; and 2) to identify existing patient-reported measures that assess each patient-centered care dimension.

Methods: For each IOM-endorsed patient-centeredness dimension, the published literature was searched to highlight the essential role of patients in assessing patient-centered care and informing quality improvement efforts. Existing literature was also searched to identify examples of patient-reported measures that assess each patient-centeredness dimension.

Conclusion: Patient-reported measures are arguably the best way to measure patient-centeredness. For instance, patients are best positioned to determine whether care aligns with patient values, preferences, and needs and the Measure of Patient Preferences is an example of a patient-reported measure that does so. Furthermore, only the patient knows whether they received the level of information desired, and if information was understood and can be recalled. Patient-reported measures that examine information provision include the Lung Information Needs Questionnaire and the EORTC QLQ-INFO25. In relation to physical comfort, only patients can report the severity of physical symptoms and whether medications provide adequate relief. Patient-reported measures that investigate physical comfort include the Pain Care Quality Survey and the Brief Pain Inventory. Using patient-reported measures to regularly measure patient-centered care is critical to identifying areas of health care where improvements are needed.

Keywords: patient-centered care; patient-reported measures; quality assessment; quality of care.