Intended for healthcare professionals

Editorials Spotlight: Patient Centred Care

Time to deliver patient centred care

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 10 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h530
  1. Tessa Richards, senior editor, patient partnership1,
  2. Angela Coulter, director of global initiatives and Spotlight guest editor 2,
  3. Paul Wicks, vice president of innovation and Spotlight guest editor3
  1. 1The BMJ, London WC1H 9JR, UK
  2. 2Informed Medical Decisions Foundation, Boston, USA
  3. 3PatientsLikeMe, Cambridge, MA, USA
  1. Correspondence to: T Richards trichards{at}

We must harness the energy, insight and expertise of patients, carers, and the communities that support them to help drive change

Patient centred care is central to the mission of healthcare, yet traditionally neither patients nor the public have had the power to shape the services they use and pay for, or define their value.1 As a result, many patients find services difficult to navigate, disempowering, burdensome, and seemingly designed to frustrate.2

There have been repeated calls to enlist patients’ help to reform systems poorly geared to meet current health challenges, subject to political meddling, and permeated by competing interests that fuel overdiagnosis and overtreatment3 4 5 UK and US policy supports person centred care and shared decision making,6 7 and the World Health Organization champions it. We know it improves the quality of care and promotes appropriate use of services.8 There is broad agreement on what it is,9 and guidance on how to deliver it.10 11 The challenge remains one of overcoming “system” inertia and paternalism.

This Spotlight series, …

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