Expanding the Science of Patient Input: The Power of Language

Published: November 2016

Language matters. At a February 2016 workshop of leaders committed to expanding patient engagement hosted by FasterCures, just 23 percent felt there was broad agreement on what the term “patient-centered” means or represents. The need to craft a common language emerged as one of the key takeaways from that meeting. The diversity of terms and definitions reflect a nascent field still coming together, but can be confusing when trying to move forward and identify the essential elements of what makes an activity patient-centered. Add to the mix different definitions for the same terms used by regulators, health-care providers and patients themselves and it’s easy to see why a shared taxonomy of terms is a vital step in advancing the science of patient input.

Yet, reaching consensus about the language we use is easier said than done. We all want to be able to use terms and definitions that fit our particular needs and the context in which we operate. To help us move collectively toward a common language that supports the science of patient input, FasterCures reviewed more than 100 public documents and websites and found nearly 200 terms related to patient engagement. In this report we share key findings and recommendations.

In our scan, these four terms turned up most frequently and had the greatest number of unique definitions:

4 terms explored in Power of Language report