Partnering with your healthcare team

Patient-Centred Care: training the next generation of health-care providers

Over the last decade, patient-centred care (PCC) has become a focus within rheumatology and in the broader healthcare community. Patient-centred care puts patients and their families at the forefront of the care that they receive. According to the British Columbia Patient-Centred Care Framework, patient-centred care incorporates the following key components:

  • Self-management;
  • Shared and informed decision-making;
  • An enhanced experience of health care;
  • Improved information and understand; and,
  • The advancement of prevention and health promotion activities.

This approach emphasizes patient-voice, information sharing and shared decision making – ensuring there is a collaboration between the patient, their family, and their health care provider(s). There should be a balance between the health professional’s knowledge and the patient’s personal knowledge, experiences and preferences. PCC is based around team work rather than a potentially unbalanced healthcare provider-patient relationship. PCC has been shown to increase patient satisfaction, improve self-management, and ultimately lead to better health outcomes. Health authorities, patient advocate groups, and researchers throughout Canada are working to make patient centred care a priority.

There are several challenges to delivering PCC on a systemic level. It requires a significant shift to the way in which the healthcare system operates, and perhaps more importantly, a significant shift in the culture of health care. An effective way of transitioning to PCC is to ensure that the next generation of health professionals have sufficient training in the area. An effective way to achieve this is to have students learn directly from patient advocates and patient educators. In October, the Pharmacy School at the University of British Columbia (UBC) led by example by doing exactly that.

For several years, the pharmacy school at UBC has invited Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE), and members of the Arthritis Patient Advisory Board from Arthritis Research Canada to help lead an activity with first year students on the importance of patient-centred care. This year, the format of the lecture was changed to include over a dozen patient educators, living with different chronic conditions. Each patient educator shared their personal stories and healthcare experiences with 6-8 students in thirty-minute sessions.

“I left the activity feeling so inspired by the students and so positive about the next generation of healthcare providers. The students really engaged with the activity and asked us excellent questions, it was a great learning experience for everyone involved.”- Maya Joshi

Giving students the opportunity to engage closely with patients, ask questions and discuss the importance of PCC is incredibly valuable. Learning directly from patient experiences humanizes the course work and ensures that the information being shared is meaningful and relevant to the patient community. We hope that more academic institutions will consider incorporating this type of activity into their curriculum.

Does your institution already run a patient centred care activity? What does it entail?

Are you a patient? What do you wish healthcare providers were taught about providing patient-centred care?

We would love to hear from you, email your suggestions and comments to