IAPO Americas

Patient involvement in healthcare decision-making

Patients need to be involved in decisions about their care and in health policy decision-making.

This should happen at every level where decisions are made that will ultimately affect patients' lives. Therefore patients have a moral and ethical right to play a meaningful role in developing healthcare policies. Engaging patients in health policy decision-making helps to ensure that policies reflect patient and caregiver needs, preferences and capabilities, making it an appropriate and cost-effective way to address the needs of the growing number of people with chronic conditions.

There is growing evidence that patient-centred healthcare promotes greater patient responsibility and optimal usage which ultimately leads to improved health outcomes, quality of life and patient satisfaction.

How can we improve patient involvement in health policy-making?

The influence of patient involvement and the impact of the patients' voice on policy-making can be restricted by numerous factors including practical and financial structures, differing knowledge bases, cultural barriers and personal attitudes.

Our policy statement on patient involvement calls for all healthcare stakeholders to:

  • Acknowledge the importance of the involvement of patients and patients' organizations in all decision-making that will impact on patients’ lives
  • Review existing healthcare mechanisms for patient involvement, considering guidelines like IAPO's and talking to patients and patients' organizations
  • Revise patient involvement initiatives to be in line with guidelines such as IAPO's which incorporate robust and transparent mechanisms, call for patient views to be acted on (rather than just record them), and commit to involve include patients all stages of projects (initiation, design, implementation, communication and evaluation)
  • Support including practical, psychological, financial and educational, as appropriate
  • Use a variety of engagement methods to reach underrepresented groups and gather a diversity of views

Download the Policy Statement on Patient Involvement

Download the Guidelines for Patient Involvement