BMC Health Serv Res. 2023 Aug 10;23(1):846. doi: 10.1186/s12913-023-09785-x.
BACKGROUND: Patient engagement is seen as a necessary component in achieving the triple aim of improved population health, improved experience of care, and lower per capita health care costs. While there has been a substantial increase in the number of tools and patient-centered initiatives designed to help patients participate in health decisions, there remains a limited understanding of engagement from the perspective of patients and a lack of measures designed to capture the multi-faceted nature of the concept.
METHODS: Development of a concept map of patient engagement followed a five-step modified Group Concept Mapping (GCM) methodology of preparation, generation, structuring, analysis and interpretation. We engaged a Project Advisory Committee at each step, along with three rounds of survey collection from clinicians and patients for element generation (272 clinicians, 61 patients), statement sorting (30 clinicians, 15 patients), and ranking and rating of statements (159 clinicians, 67 patients). The survey of three separate samples, as opposed to focus groups of ‘experts,’ was an intentional decision to gain a broad perspective about the concept of patient engagement. We conducted the structure and analysis steps within the groupwisdom concept mapping software.
RESULTS: The final concept map comprised 47 elements organized into 5 clusters: Relationship with Provider, Patient Attitudes and Behaviors, Access, Internal Resources and External Resources. There was considerable agreement in the way elements in each cluster were rated by patients and clinicians. An analysis of the importance of the constitutive elements of patient engagement relative to their addressability highlighted actionable items in the domain of Relationship with Provider, aimed at building trust and enabling patients to ask questions. At the same time, the analysis also identified elements traditionally considered barriers to engagement, like personal access to the internet and the patient’s level of digital literacy, as difficult to address by the healthcare system, but also relatively less important for patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Through our GCM approach, incorporating perspectives of both patients and clinicians, we identified items that can be used to assess patient engagement efforts by healthcare systems. As a result, our study offers specific insight into areas that can be targeted for intervention by healthcare systems to improve patient engagement.