Patient-centered care supports active involvement of patients and their families in the design of new care models and in decision-making about individual options for treatment. The IOM (Institute of Medicine) defines patient-centered care as: "Providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values, and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions."  Patient-centered care is also one of the overreaching goals of health advocacy, in addition to safer medical systems, and greater patient involvement in healthcare delivery and design. Given that non-consumer stakeholders often don't know what matters most to patients regarding their ability to get and stay well, care that is truly patient-centered cannot be achieved without active patient engagement at every level of care design and implementation.
These four attributes of patient-centered care are the following:
- "Whole-person" care
- Coordination and communication
- Patient support and empowerment
- Ready access
Patient-centered care is about much more than simply educating patients about a diagnosis, potential treatment, or healthy behavior. It does not mean giving patients whatever they want; rather, patients want guidance from their care providers, but they expect that guidance to be provided in the context of full and unbiased information about options, benefits and risks. “Patient-centered” means considering patients’ cultural traditions, personal preferences and values, family situations, social circumstances and lifestyles, as used by the Institute of Medicine and Institute for Healthcare Improvement. A 2001 Institute of Medicine report identified a focus on patient-centered care as one of six interrelated factors constituting high-quality health care. Patient centered care leads to higher level of patient engagement. The 5 constituent dimensions of patient engagement include: communication, provider effectiveness, alignment of objective, information & encouragement, and patient incentive. Engaged patients tend to achieve better health outcomes.
Specialty drugs patient care management is meant to be both high technology and high touch care, or patient-centered care with "more face-to-face time, more personal connections." PCC is defined by the Institute of Medicine as "care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs and values."
Don Berwick, formerly of IHI, defined patient-centered care as: The experience (to the extent the informed, individual patient desires it) of transparency, individualization, recognition, respect, dignity, and choice in all matters, without exception, related to one’s person, circumstances, and relationships in health care.
In its Declaration on Patient-Centred Healthcare, The International Alliance of Patients' Organizations (IAPO) states that the essence of patient-centered healthcare is that the healthcare system is designed and delivered to address the healthcare needs and preferences of patients so that healthcare is appropriate and cost-effective. The Declaration sets out five principles of patient-centered healthcare: respect; choice and empowerment; patient involvement in health policy; access and support and information.
- Institute on Medicine. "Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century". Retrieved 26 November 2012.
- Jo Anne L. Earp, Elizabeth A. French, & Melissa B. Gilkey: Patient Advocacy for Health Care Quality
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- Institute for Healthcare Improvement. http://www.ihi.org/IHI/Topics/PatientCenteredCare/PatientCenteredCareGeneral/
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- Rosen, Lawrence (13 December 2012). "High Tech, High Touch: Why Technology Enhances Patient-Centered Care". Retrieved 5 October 2015.
- Berwick, Don. "What Patient-Centered Should Mean: Confessions of an Extremist". Health Affairs Web Exclusive. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
- Erik Cambria; Amir Hussain; Tariq Durrani; Catherine Havasi; Chris Eckl; James Munro (2010). "Sentic Computing for Patient Centered Applications". Proceedings of IEEE ICSP10.
- Erik Cambria; Tim Benson; Chris Eckl; Amir Hussain (2012). "Sentic PROMs: Application of Sentic Computing to the Development of a Novel Unified Framework for Measuring Health-Care Quality". Expert Systems with Applications, Elsevier.
- International Alliance of Patients' Organizations (IAPO, 2006). "Declaration on Patient-Centred Healthcare". Retrieved 13 December 2011.