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Patient- and Family-Centered Care White Paper

Intended to help RAM coalitions -- includes a series of strategies and tactics to help engage local communities. 

Download a PDF Verison.


Improving the Quality of Health Care… Community by Community


Each year Americans spend more than a trillion dollars on health care.  As much as a third of those dollars is wasted, either by delivering unnecessary or inadequate care to patients or, even worse, harming them.  No one, rich or poor, is immune to the shortcomings of American medicine.  Spiraling health care expenditures provide no assurance of access or quality.

Lost amidst the debate over rising costs and access is the patient experience. More and more providers, purchasers and others involved in quality improvement are rallying around the concept of patient- and family-centered care.

Patient- and family-centered care promotes partnerships among patients, families and providers at all levels of care.  With this approach, patients and families are viewed as key members of the health care team.  They have access to useful information to promote health and manage disease.  They participate in decisions about their care.  They are allies for quality and safety.

There are opportunities for patients and families to share their insights and perspectives in planning, implementing and evaluating health care policies and programs.  There are also opportunities for them to participate in teaching the next generation of providers.  Patient- and family-centered care is about working together to ensure that health care is of high quality, safe, effective and evidence-based.  Attaining this standard of care will require the sustained commitment of clinicians, quality experts, administrative leaders, government and regulatory groups, patients and families. 

Patient- and family-centered care is one of the overarching themes of Remaking American Medicine…Health Care for the 21st Century.  Many of the stories in the PBS series highlight the efforts of providers and patients who are committed to transforming health care into a patient-centered system, community by community.  The series and the accompanying outreach campaign will promote best-practice models, raise public awareness about opportunities for improving the quality of health care and encourage Americans to become their own health care advocates.

The goals of the outreach campaign are to stimulate a national dialogue about the importance of improving American health care, raise awareness about opportunities for improving the quality of health care, facilitate the development of local coalitions that will amplify the messages of the campaign, and encourage Americans to become active participants in their own care and in transforming the health care system.

"It’s your call the shots"

To date, more than 35 local coalitions have formed to help accomplish these goals.  The campaign Leadership Guide provides step-by-step suggestions on how these coalitions can use the series as a catalyst for change while leveraging the promotional support provided by the national outreach team and more than 40 National Partners.  The Guide recommends how coalitions may partner with patients and families to conduct a quality improvement needs assessment, develop action plans responsive to specific issues and needs, undertake a variety of outreach activities to inform and motivate people, and conduct campaign evaluations.  The campaign Web site,, also provides a wide variety of resources and tools to assist coalitions.

The following strategies and tactics are meant to engage the community in a constructive dialogue that will result in actionable efforts and provide the impetus for sustainable coalitions that will continue to support quality improvement.

Coalitions are being asked to:



Below please find resources related to patient- and family-centered care.

Strategies for Leadership: Patient-and Family-Centered Care (A Resource Guide)

Institute for Family-Centered Care

This resource guide for hospital leaders and medical staff provides information about the concepts of patient- and family-centered care as well as guidance on how to advance such care within organizations.  Case studies and a listing of additional resources and references also are featured.

Patient-Centered Care Information

Institute for Health Care Improvement (IHI)

IHI’s Web site has tools, resources and health care improvement stories that focus on involving patients in the design of care, meeting patient’s needs and making informed decisions about health care. 

Quality of Health Care: “Q-Pack”

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ)

AHRQ provides practical tips for preventing medical errors in hospitals, clinics and other health care settings. This patient fact sheet provides questions to ask about medicines, surgery, medical diagnoses, equipment, and lab reports.


Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ)

This resource provides information about AHRQ’s process to develop a national standard for assessing hospital patient experiences. 

Putting Patients First®

National Health Council

This public education program is designed to empower consumers and patients. It includes a document listing patients’ rights and responsibilities, practical messages to help consumers take action and public service announcements.

Hospital Compare

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) along with the Hospital Quality Alliance (HQA).

This Web site produced by CMS and HQA, provides information on local hospitals as well as such patient tools as a hospital checklist and a description of patient’s rights.

Quality Check®

Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations

Quality Check® is a search engine on the Web that lists Joint Commission accredited health care organizations.

Speak UpSM Initiative

Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations

These tools and resources meant to assist patients in taking an active role in their health care, making better health care choices and becoming more informed participants in their health care.  


For additional information about Remaking American Medicine, local coalitions, and other patient- and family-centered care resources please log on to


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