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March 3, 2016

The patient-as-partner approach in health care: a conceptual framework for a necessary transition.

Region: Americas Scientific publication Empowering and engaging people and communities, Reorienting the model of care Source: Academic Medicine

A new model to enforce the partnership between patients and healthcare professionals has been developed at the University of Montreal’s Faculty of Medicine. Their patient-as-partner approach is rooted in patient-centered perspectives that have inspired previous initiatives like shared decision making, therapeutic education, expert patient and self-management. The main contribution of “Montreal model” is to consider the patient as a caregiver of himself and, as such, a genuine member of the treatment team, endowed with competencies and limitations just like any other member of the team.
This article describes the theoretical basis and summarize the main achievements of this innovative approach, established since 2010. Authors examine the issues of patient partnerships on medical practice and medical education cultures. Two key challenges are identified: 1) Integrate patients in existing professional education structures, instead of separate spaces as patient’s universities and 2) Develop a formal recruitment process for those patients, including selection criteria, covering such elements as reflective capacity and ability to clearly express oneself.
This framework is currently a first stage on the research program of the Direction of Collaboration and Patient Partnership at the University of Montreal’s Faculty of Medicine. However, authors believe that such an approach will be key to meet the greatest health challenges from the increasing burden of chronic diseases worldwide and the critical need to redesign health care systems accordingly. More research is needed to asses systematically the implementation of this model at clinical, organizational and systemic levels.