Griffith University: New map of patient-centred care to support general practice teams

Finding common ground and having enough time with patients as well as collaboration with other health-care providers are key components of a new patient-centred care model developed by Griffith University-led research.

“Patient-centre care is broadly defined by the World Health Organisation as care that is respectful to the needs and wishes of patients,’’ said lead researcher and PhD candidate Bryce Brickley.

“Our research team recently reviewed much of the published research about patient-centred care delivered by GPs and found it to be a multi-faceted, highly theoretical concept with no clear definition.

“Despite the effects of COVID-19, GP caseloads continue to grow with chronic disease management, community-based acute care, and other generalist care. So it is important to support general practice with patient-centred care.”

As part of his PhD with Griffith’s Healthy Primary Care team, Bryce developed a model of best practice GP-delivered patient-centred care. With partners from Bond University and the Gold Coast Primary Health Network Bryce evaluated this model to improve it by adding the perspectives of patient advocates and local practising GPs.

A sample of 27 participants (12 GPs and 15 patient advocates) were recruited for focus group interviews based on the Gold Coast and Northern New South Wales. Six focus groups were held (three with patient advocates, and three with GPs) and participants openly discussed their perspectives and experiences of patient-centred care.

“The majority of participants’ stressed that the model of GP-delivered patient-centred care represented an ideal but could not always be delivered this way in practice,’’ Bryce said.

“In the case of many patients’ experience, spending time with their GP, nurturing relationships and building trust is not always possible. Patients in our study wanted GPs and general practices to give more attention to the practice environment because as one patient participant said “Patient-centred care starts as soon as you walk in that door”.

“More collaboration with other health-care providers is also important to maximise the level of care provided to patients.”

Bryce said overall the study consolidated lived experiences of patient-centred care with theoretical knowledge to produce a multi-faceted understanding of patient-centred care.

“This new model of patient-centred care can be used in practice to identify new, practical strategies to support primary health organisations, consumers, and clinicians with patient-centred care.

“In our study, GPs and patient advocates provided valuable insight into patient-centred care and they should continue to be engaged to provide feedback to researchers, primary care organisations, and policy-makers.”

‘Putting patients first: development of a patient advocate and general practitioner-informed model of patient-centred care’ is published in BMC Health Services Research.