Measuring what really matters: towards a coherent measurement system to support person-centred care

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In this thought paper, Dr Alf Collins - Health Foundation Clinical Associate (person-centred care) describes the principles of person-centred care, the activities that a person-centred healthcare system should undertake in different contexts and how to think about constructing measurement systems for use in each of these contexts.

The paper sets out 4 principles for being person centred:

  • Principle 1. Being person-centred means affording people dignity, respect and compassion
  • Principle 2. Being person-centred means offering coordinated care, support or treatment
  • Principle 3. Being person-centred means offering personalised care, support or treatment
  • Principle 4. Being person-centred means being enabling

It described person-centred activities as including self-managenet support, shared decision making and collaborative care and support planning.  The paper argues that measures don’t just tell us about the performance of a system – they can drive the performance of the system. The right measure in the right place can be transformative; the wrong measure in the wrong place can be equally transformative. It goes on to argue that if we want to put patients first, we need to put person-centred measures first, but we need to get the right measures in the right place by thinking about context and about coherence. 

The paper also separates processes (activities) from outcomes to encourage policy makers, commissioners and providers to be equally rigorous when developing their person-centred systems and associated measurement systems.

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