Measurement of person-centred consultation skills among healthcare practitioners: a systematic review of reviews of validation studies

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BACKGROUND: Person-centred care is integral to high-quality health service provision, though concepts vary and the literature is complex. Validated instruments that measure person-centred practitioner skills, and behaviours within consultations, are needed for many reasons, including in training programmes. We aimed to provide a high-level synthesis of what was expected to be a large and diverse literature through a systematic review of existing reviews of validation studies a of instruments that measure person-centred practitioner skills and behaviours in consultations. The objectives were to undertake a critical appraisal of these reviews, and to summarise the available validated instruments and the evidence underpinning them.

METHODS: A systematic search of Medline, EMBASE, PsycINFO and CINAHL was conducted in September 2020. Systematic reviews of validation studies of instruments measuring individual practitioner person-centred consultation skills or behaviours which report measurement properties were included. Review quality was assessed with the Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Checklist for Systematic Reviews and Research Syntheses. Details of the reviews, the included validation studies, and the instruments themselves are tabulated, including psychometric data, and a narrative overview of the reviews is provided.

RESULTS: Four reviews were eligible for inclusion. These used different conceptualisations of person-centredness and targeted distinct, sometimes mutually exclusive, practitioners and settings. The four reviews included 68 unique validation studies examining 42 instruments, but with very few overlaps. The critical appraisal shows there is a need for improvements in the design of reviews in this area. The instruments included within these reviews have not been subject to extensive validation study.

DISCUSSION: There are many instruments available which measure person-centred skills in healthcare practitioners and this study offers a guide to what is available to researchers and research users. The most relevant and promising instruments that have already been developed, or items within them, should be further studied rigorously. Validation study of existing material is needed, not the development of new measures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number211
Number of pages30
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023. The Author(s).


  • Humans
  • Concept Formation
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Narration
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic

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