Defining the Dimensions of Person-Centered Care and What to do with it

With “Crossing the Quality Chasm (2001),” The US Institute of Medicine (IOM) propelled patient-centeredness into the spotlight as one of its six goals for US healthcare improvement. This sentiment was echoed by national organizations across the world funneling money and resources into person-centered initiatives. While conceptually straightforward on paper, when experts and leaders are challenged to define patient-centeredness, a concrete definition is hard to pin down. A paper written by Jördis M. Zill,* Isabelle Scholl, Martin Härter, and Jörg Dirmaier “Which Dimensions of Patient-Centeredness Matter? - Results of a Web-Based Expert Delphi Survey” identifies patient-centeredness as an integrative model with 15 dimensions. 11 of those 15 dimensions were validated by 105 subject matter experts - clinicians, patient representatives, researchers and quality managers - the following 5 dimensions were prioritized as the most relevant and clear.

These 5 dimensions are also supported by goShadow analysis of over 2000 patient responses to survey questions about the quality of their care. Staff concern for care, patient communication, feeling heard and seen as an individual comprised over 50% of responses and correlated with higher patient satisfaction. 

Building a healthcare system that operates on a model of patient-centeredness does not occur in a vacuum. It requires intentional decision-making and purposeful engagement using tools that facilitate co-design and co-production of care pathways that recognizes patients as individuals, informs, involves and empowers them in their care, and builds robust patient-care team relationships. Additionally goShadow expands the idea of the patient-centered model to include all persons involved in care, a person-centered model. In the true spirit of co-design, staff should be empowered by leadership to work with patients, side-by-side in tandem to create a mutually beneficial health system, merging lived experiences with expertise. 

To achieve this, our framework engages patients and staff in all dimensions of person-centeredness. We support staff to work as multi-disciplinary teams to improve experiences as well as health outcomes with tools such as “What Matters to You?”, journey mapping and shadowing, data analysis and perception mapping, just to name a few. 

To promote person-centeredness we offer all of our tools for free on our website. For in-depth coaching on all our tools and to enroll in our 6-month patient and staff engagement programs, reach out to us!    


Zill, J. M., Scholl, I., Härter, M., & Dirmaier, J. (2015, November 5). Which dimensions of patient-centeredness matter? - results of a web-based expert Delphi Survey. PloS one. Retrieved July 7, 2022, from 

Back to Blog

Posted on

July 8, 2022