Background: Patient-centered care (PCC) has been proposed as the way forward in improving primary care for patients with multi-morbidity. However, it is not clear what PCC exactly looks like in practice for patients with multimorbidity. A better understanding of multi-morbid patients’ views on what PCC should look like and which elements are most important may help to improve care delivery for this vulnerable population. The present study thus aimed to identify views of patients with multi-morbidity on the relative importance of PCC aspects in a Dutch primary care setting.
Methods: Interviews were conducted with 16 patients with multi-morbidity using Q-methodology, which combines quantitative and qualitative analyses. The participants ranked 28 statements about the eight dimensions of PCC (patients’ preferences, information and education, access to care, emotional support, family and friends, continuity and transition, physical comfort, and coordination of care) by relative importance. By-person factor analysis using centroid factor extraction and varimax rotation were used to reveal factors that represent viewpoints. Qualitative interview data were used to interpret the viewpoints.
Results: The analyses revealed three factors representing three distinct viewpoints of patients with multi-morbidity on what is important for patient-centered care in the primary care setting. Patients with viewpoint 1 are prepared proactive patients who seem to be well-off and want to be in charge of their own care. To do so, they seek medical information and prefer to be supported by a strongly coordinated multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals. Patients with viewpoint 2 are everyday patients who visit GPs and require well-coordinated, respectful, and supportive care. Patients with viewpoint 3 are vulnerable patients who are less resourceful in terms of communication skills and finances, and thus require accessible care and professionals taking the lead while treating them with dignity and respect.
Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that not all patients with multi-morbidity require the same type of care delivery, and that not all aspects of PCC delivery are equally important to all patients.

Patient-centered care, Multi-morbidity, Primary care, Care delivery, Q-methodology,
BMC Family Practice
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Kuipers, S.J, Nieboer, A.P, & Cramm, J.M. (2020). Views of patients with multi-morbidity on what is important for patient-centered care in the primary care setting. BMC Family Practice. doi:10.1186/s12875-020-01144-7