Person-centred care in primary care: What works for whom, how and in what circumstances?

A. Ahmed*, M.E.T.C. van den Muijsenbergh, H.J.M. Vrijhoef

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


This rapid realist review aims to explain how and why person-centred care (PCC) in primary care works (or not) among others for people with low health literacy skills and for people with a diverse ethnic and socioeconomic background, and to construct a middle-range programme theory (PT). Peered reviewed- and non-peer-reviewed literature (Jan 2013-Feb 2021) reporting on PCC in primary care was included. Selection and appraisal of documents were based on relevance and rigour according to the Realist And Meta-narrative Evidence Syntheses: Evolving Standards (RAMESES) criteria. Data on context, mechanisms and outcomes (CMO) were extracted. Based on the extracted data, CMO configurations were identified per source publication. Configurations containing all three constructs (CMO) were included in the PT. The middle-range PT demonstrates that healthcare professionals (HCPs) should be trained and equipped with the knowledge and skills to communicate effectively (i.e. in easy-to-understand words, emphatically, checking whether the patient understands everything, listening attentively) tailored to the wishes, needs and possibilities of the patient, which may lead to higher satisfaction. This way the patient will be more involved in the care process and in the shared decision-making process, which may result in improved concordance, and an improved treatment approach. A respectful and empathic attitude of the HCP plays an important role in establishing a strong therapeutic relationship and improved health (system) outcomes. Together with a good accessibility of care for patients, setting up a personalised care plan with all involved parties may positively affect the self-management skills of patients. Good collaboration within the team and between different domains is desirable to ensure good care coordination. The coherence of items related to PCC in primary care should be considered to better understand its effectiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E3328-E3341
Number of pages14
JournalHealth & Social Care in the Community
Issue number6
Early online date21 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • person-centred care
  • primary care
  • primary healthcare
  • realist review


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