3 Principles of Patient, Family Engagement in Healthcare

Patient and family engagement can be viewed as a continuum of engagement activities that occur at different levels of engagement, according to a report in Health Affairs.

The authors present a framework for patient and family engagement, which they define as "patients, families, their representatives and health professionals working in active partnership at various levels across the health care system—direct care, organizational design and governance and policy making — to improve health and health care."

The framework is designed based on three principles of patient engagement:

1. Engagement activities range along a continuum.
2. Engagement occurs at different levels.
3. Multiple factors affect the willingness and ability of patients to engage.

Along the continuum of patient engagement are consultation, involvement and partnership and shared leadership. The levels of engagement include direct care, organizational design and governance and policymaking. The intersection of these two continuums demonstrates different ways healthcare providers can engage patients.

For example, engagement through consultation at the policymaking level can be "a public agency that conducts focus groups with patients to ask opinions about a healthcare issue," according to the report. In contrast, in engagement through direct care at the partnership and shared leadership level, "treatment decisions are made based on patients' preferences, medical evidence and clinical judgment," the authors wrote.

The authors said they do not suggest healthcare providers always employ engagement at the higher end of the continuum because that engagement may not be best for every patient in every setting.

More Articles on Patient Engagement:

Study: Highly Engaged Patients Have Lower Healthcare Costs
11 Healthcare Leaders Share Patient Engagement Strategies

Enhance Patient Engagement With Device Connectivity to Patient Portals

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