ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 2011; 18:1289–1294 © 2011 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine
Patient-centered care is defined by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) as care that is responsive to individual patient needs and values and that guides treatment decisions. This article is the result of a breakout session of the 2011 Academic Emergency Medicine consensus conference “Interventions to Assure Quality in the Crowded Emergency Department” and focuses on three broad domains of patient-centered care: patient satisfaction, patient involvement, and care related to patient needs.The working group provided background information and an overview of interventions that have been conducted in the domains of patient satisfaction, patient involvement (patients’ preferences and values in decision-making), and patient needs (e.g., comfort, information, education). Participants in the breakout session discussed interventions reported in the medical literature as well as initiated at their institutions, discussed the effect of crowding on patient-centered care, and prioritized, in a two-step voting process, five areas of focus for establishing a research agenda for studying patient-centered care during times of crowding. The research priorities for enhancing patient-centered care in all three domains during periods of crowding are discussed. These include assessing the effect of other quality domains on patient satisfaction and determining the effects of changes in ED operations on patient satisfaction; enhancing patient involvement by determining the effect of digital records and health information technology (HIT); rapid assessment areas with focused patient–provider communication; and meeting patients’ needs through flexible staffing, use of HIT to enhance patient communication, discharge instructions, and postdischarge telephone calls.