Study Discusses Value of Person-Centered Care for Patients With Chronic Pain, Lung Disease

Patients with long-term conditions are more inclined to choose services with person-centered care attributes, according to recent research.
Published Online: July 17, 2017
Alison Rodriguez
Patients with long-term conditions are more inclined to choose services with person-centered care attributes, according to recent research.

A new study published by BMJ Open identified 4 attributes—information, situation, living well, and communication—through a series of tests, evaluations, and interviews in order to represent some of the important factors involved in providing person-centered care.

“From a patient’s perspective, person-centered care can depend, among other things, on practitioners adopting an appropriate communication style, providing personally relevant information, taking appropriate account of their personal circumstances and working with them on what matters to them (or what they want to get from life),” the study explained.

The study included 923 people with chronic pain or chronic lung disease. Their value of person-centered care was measured over 3 discrete choice experiments (DCEs) which allowed researchers to calculate each attribute’s value to an individual. In these experiments, participants were asked to choose between service specifications emphasizing different attributes and rate their level of preference for each option on a scale.

From the DCEs, the researchers found that the person-centered attributes that mattered most to patients were situation (taking into account the patient’s situation) and living well (working with patients to achieve what they want to get from life); these were valued 4 times higher than the communication attribute. The value of cost was similar for patients with the 2 different conditions, indicating that cost as a patient-centered factor may not be condition-specific.

“Patients valued two aspects of person-centredness more highly than others. These were attention to their personal situation and orientation to what matters to them for living well,” the study summarized. “A substantial minority valued personal relevance of information provision most highly. A more friendly and personal communicative style was consistently valued least.”

The study represents the first to investigate the influence of personal attributes on the delivery of healthcare. However, the researchers acknowledged the limits of only examining 4 attributes, as they may only reflect a small portion of the healthcare experience.

“Investment in training to improve professionals’ skills must address the substance of clinical communication—working responsively with individuals on what matters to them—as well as its style,” the study concluded.

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