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2005 National Healthcare Quality Report

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Chapter 5. Patient Centeredness

Patient centeredness is defined as: "[H]ealth care that establishes a partnership among practitioners, patients, and their families (when appropriate) to ensure that decisions respect patients' wants, needs, and preferences and that patients have the education and support they need to make decisions and participate in their own care."1 Patient centeredness "encompasses qualities of compassion, empathy, and responsiveness to the need, values, and expressed preferences of the individual patient."2

Importance and Measures

Morbidity and Mortality

  • Patient centered approaches to care that rely on building a provider-patient relationship, improving communication techniques, fostering a positive atmosphere3,4 and promoting patients to actively participate in patient-provider interactions5 have been shown to improve the health status of patients.
  • A patient centered approach has been shown to lessen the symptom burden on patients.6
  • Patient centered care encourages patients to comply with and adhere to treatment regimens.7,8
  • Patient centered care can reduce the chance of misdiagnosis due to poor communication.9


  • Patient centeredness has been shown to reduce both underuse and overuse of medical services.10
  • Patient centeredness can reduce the strain on system resources or save money by reducing the number of diagnostic tests and referrals.11,12
  • Although some studies have shown that being patient centered reduces costs and use of health service resources,13 others have shown that patient centeredness increases costs to providers, especially in the short run.14


The NHQR tracks four measures of the patient experience of care. The core report measure is a composite measure of these measures which include patient assessments of how often their provider listened carefully to them, explained things clearly, respected what they had to say, and spent enough time with them.

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Patient Experience of Care--Adults Chapter 4. References



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