Safety and Quality > Our Work > Patient and Consumer Centred Care

Patient or consumer centred care is health care that is respectful of, and responsive to, the preferences, needs and values of patients and consumers. Different definitions and terminology have been used to describe the concepts in this area but key principles of patient centred approaches include:

  • treating patients, consumers, carers and families with dignity and respect
  • encouraging and supporting participation in decision making by patients, consumers, carers and families
  • communicating and sharing information with patients, consumers, carers and families
  • fostering collaboration with patients, consumers, carers, families and health professionals in program and policy development, and in health service design, delivery and evaluation.

In 2009, the Commission commenced a program that specifically focuses on fostering patient centred and partnership approaches to care: the Patient and Consumer Centred Care Program.

Patient or consumer centred care is increasingly being recognised as a dimension of high quality health care in its own right, and there is strong evidence that a patient centred focus can lead to improvements in health care quality and outcomes by increasing safety, cost effectiveness and patient, family and staff satisfaction.

Internationally, healthcare services use a range of strategies to promote patient centred care and partnerships with patients and their families. A range of organisations provide frameworks and tools to help implement these strategies such as the United States-based Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care and Planetree.

Within Australia, health care organisations are becoming increasingly interested in patient centred and partnership approaches to care. However ACSQHC is aware that while there is wide and strong commitment to a healthcare system that is focused on the needs of patients and consumers, health services and health service providers can struggle with enacting the principles of patient centred care in practice.

Discussion Paper

In 2010, the Commission developed a discussion paper on patient centred care in collaboration with Dr Karen Luxford and Dr Donella Piper.

Health Literacy

The Commission is commencing a program of work on health literacy. The first stage was to undertake an Australian stocktake of health literacy activity.

Building Leadership to Improve Patient Based Care seminar

In July 2011, the Commission and the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission held a seminar for senior managers and executives.

Breaking Down the Barriers seminar

In April 2012. ACSQHC and the NSW Health Literacy Network held a seminar on health literacy based on the work and experience of Dr Rima Rudd, Health Literacy Expert, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA.