Skip to main content

Partnering with patients in their own care

Systems that are based on partnering with patients in their own care are used to support the delivery of care. Patients are partners in their own care to the extent that they choose.

Person-centred care is globally recognised as the gold standard approach to healthcare delivery. It is a diverse and evolving practice, encompassing concepts such as patient engagement and patient empowerment. Partnering with patients in their own care is an important pillar of person-centred care. It focuses on the relationship between a consumer and a clinician, and recognises that trust, mutual respect and sharing of knowledge are needed for the best health outcomes.1

Partnerships with patients comprise many different, interwoven practices – from communication and structured listening, through to shared decision making, self-management support and care planning. There is growing acceptance that these practices can improve the safety and quality of health care, improve patient outcomes and experience, and improve the performance of health service organisations.2

Effective partnerships between clinicians and patients require:

  • Organisational development and promotion of person-centred care
  • Education and training to equip clinicians with a rounded mix of skills
  • Tools and resources to support communication and shared decision making
  • Integrated care models
  • Meaningful methods of measuring success, such as recording patient experience and patient-reported outcome measures.

Today, health service organisations and clinicians are adopting strategies to encourage patients to become partners in their own care.3 Key strategies have included:

  • Providing health information in engaging and accessible formats, such as print, mobile, apps and online channels
  • Eliciting and documenting individual needs, preferences and goals
  • Using patient decision aids
  • Encouraging and prompting patient questioning during clinical encounters
  • Providing education to support self-management
  • Establishing self-help and support groups
  • Developing programs to encourage treatment adherence
  • Providing consumers with open access to their own healthcare record.

Health service organisations can also look at strategies for engaging with patients’ carers and families.3 Carers and families can often provide unique insight into a patient’s health history, and provide valuable reassurance to the patient during their treatment.


Healthcare rights and informed consent

Sharing decisions and planning care


  1. Harding E, Wait S, Scrutton J. The state of play in person-centred care. London: The Health Policy Partnership; 2015 (accessed Sep 2017).
  2. Luxford K, Newell S. New South Wales mounts ‘patient based care’ challenge. BMJ 2015;350:g7582.
  3. Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. Patient-centred care: improving quality and safety through partnerships with patients and consumers. Sydney: ACSQHC; 2011.
Find more in our resource library
Back to top