Patient engagement in clinical communication: An exploratory study

Wendy Chaboyer, Anne McMurray, Andrea Marshall, Brigid Gillespie, Shelley Roberts, Alison M. Hutchinson, Mari Botti, Lauren McTier, Helen Rawson, Tracey Bucknall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: Existing practice strategies for actively involving patients in care during hospitalisation are poorly understood. The aim of this study was to explore how healthcare professionals engaged patients in communication associated with care transitions. Method: An instrumental, collective case study approach was used to generate empirical data about patient transitions in care. A purposive sample of key stakeholders representing (i) patients and their families; (ii) hospital discharge planning team members; and (iii) healthcare professionals was recruited in five Australian health services. Individual and group semi-structured interviews were conducted to elicit detailed explanations of patient engagement in transition planning. Interviews lasted between 30 and 60 minutes and were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data collection and analysis were conducted simultaneously and continued until saturation was achieved. Thematic analysis was undertaken. Results: Five themes emerged as follows: (i) organisational commitment to patient engagement; (ii) the influence of hierarchical culture and professional norms on patient engagement; (iii) condoning individual healthcare professionals' orientations and actions; (iv) understanding and negotiating patient preferences; and (v) enacting information sharing and communication strategies. Most themes illustrated how patient engagement was enabled; however, barriers also existed. Conclusion: Our findings show that strong organisational and professional commitment to patient-centred care throughout the organisation was a consistent feature of health services that actively engaged patients in clinical communication. Understanding patients' needs and preferences and having both formal and informal strategies to engage patients in clinical communication were important in how this involvement occurred.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-573
Number of pages9
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical communication
  • Patient engagement
  • Patient participation
  • Patient-centred care
  • Person-centred care
  • Transitions in care

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