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

Partnering with consumers is about healthcare organisations, healthcare providers and policy-makers actively working with people who use the healthcare system to ensure that health information and services meet people’s needs.

There are lots of terms used to describe the concepts that underpin partnerships with consumers, such as patient-centred care, consumer engagement, patient participation and citizen engagement. Essentially, partnerships with consumers exist when consumers are treated with dignity and respect, information is shared with them, and their participation and collaboration is encouraged.

Partnerships with consumers can come in many forms. Some examples include:

  • working with consumers to check that the health information is easy to understand
  • using communication strategies and decision support tools that tailor messages to the consumer
  • including consumers in governance structures to ensure organisational policies and processes meet the needs of consumers
  • involving consumers in critical friends groups to provide advice on safety and quality projects
  • establishing consumer advisory groups to inform design or redesign projects.

There is good evidence that patient-centred approaches to care can lead to improvements in safety, quality and cost effectiveness, as well as improvements in patient and staff satisfaction. More information about the evidence for patient-centred approaches to care can be found in Patient-centred care: Improving quality and safety through partnerships with patients and consumers.

National Safety and Quality Health Service Standard 2: Partnering with Consumers

Standard 2 of the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards is focused on fostering partnerships with consumers in the governance of the organisation.

Health Literacy

Health literacy plays an important role in enabling effective partnerships with consumers. In order for partnerships to work everyone needs to be able to give and receive, interpret and act on information about health and health care.

Useful resources

Including access to seminar presentations and reports on the health information needs and preferences of consumers including culturally and linguistically diverse, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people.