BACKGROUND: Patients, providers and health care organisations benefit from an increased understanding and implementation of patient-centred care (PCC) by general practitioners (GPs). This study aimed to evaluate and advance a theoretical model of PCC developed in consultation with practising GPs and patient advocates.
METHODS: Qualitative description in a social constructivist/interpretivist paradigm. Participants were purposively sampled from six primary care organisations in south east Queensland/northern New South Wales, Australia. Participants engaged in focus group discussions where they expressed their perceptions, views and feelings of an existing PCC model. Data was analysed thematically using a constant-comparison approach.
RESULTS: Three focus groups with 15 patient advocates and three focus groups with 12 GPs were conducted before thematic saturation was obtained. Three themes emerged: i) the model represents the ideal, ii) considering the system and collaborating in care and iii) optimising the general practice environment. The themes related to participants' impression of the model and new components of PCC perceived to be experienced in the 'real world'. The data was synthesised to produce an advanced model of PCC named, "Putting Patients First: A Map for PCC".
CONCLUSIONS: Our revised PCC model represents an enhanced understanding of PCC in the 'real world' and can be used to inform patients, providers and health organisations striving for PCC. Qualitative testing advanced and supported the credibility of the model and expanded its application beyond the doctor-patient encounter. Future work could incorporate our map for PCC in tool/tool kits designed to support GPs and general practice with PCC.