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.
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
- Sepucha, Karen; Uzogarra, Barry, O'Connor, Mulley (2008). "Developing instruments to measure the quality of decisions: early results for a set of symptom-driven decisions". Patient Educ Counsel. 73 (3): 504–510.
- 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.