Unraveling the meaning of patient engagement: A concept analysis

Patient Educ Couns. 2017 Jan;100(1):30-36. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2016.09.002. Epub 2016 Sep 3.


Objective: Patient engagement has been credited with contributing to improved outcomes and experiences of care. Patient engagement has become a widely used term, but remains a poorly understood concept in healthcare. Citations for the term have increased throughout the healthcare-related disciplines without a common definition. This study seeks to define the concept by identifying its attributes in the context of its use.

Methods: A concept analysis of the scientific literature in the health disciplines was performed using the Rogers method.

Results: The analysis revealed four defining attributes of patient engagement: personalization, access, commitment and therapeutic alliance. Patient engagement is defined as the desire and capability to actively choose to participate in care in a way uniquely appropriate to the individual, in cooperation with a healthcare provider or institution, for the purposes of maximizing outcomes or improving experiences of care.

Conclusion: Patient engagement is both process and behavior and is shaped by the relationship between the patient and provider and the environment in which healthcare delivery takes place.

Practice implications: The definition and the identified attributes serve as a heuristic in designing patient engagement strategies and as a basis for future development of the patient engagement concept in healthcare.

Keywords: Concept analysis; Health information technology; Patient engagement.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Patient Participation*
  • Patient-Centered Care*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*