Person-Centered Engagement at the Organizational Level Change Package
Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation Health Care Transformation Task Force
Return to Main Site

Selecting Engagement Strategies

This Change Package groups engagement strategies into four categories: Collaboration, Co-ownership, Communication and Consultation. Health care organizations are often already familiar with the Communication and Consultation strategies and while these approaches are a reasonable starting point for organizations with little experience in engagement efforts, organizations truly dedicated to implementing person-centered engagement must work towards implementing Co-Ownership and/or Collaboration based strategies.

Key actions to take in deciding which engagement strategies make most sense for your organization

Considerations for Inpatient vs. Outpatient Settings

In general, inpatient and outpatient facilities can use many of the same engagement strategies; however, there are factors intrinsic to each setting that could steer toward the specific engagement approach best to employ.  

  • Inpatient Factors: Patients in inpatient settings are, by default, interacting with the health care organization on a full-time basis during their stay.  Inpatient admissions for acute or chronic conditions are stressful for patients and their families. Those developing engagement strategies should be mindful of this and create a variety of appropriately sensitive modes for engagement. This could include individual-level engagement activities such as person- or family-centered rounding focused on identifying opportunities to improve the immediate care experience or built around support for specific serious or chronic conditions, as well as collaboration and co-ownership strategies. In terms of resource requirements, inpatient settings tend to have an advantage over outpatient settings in that they generally have access to food service and meeting space that can be used to support in-person meetings. 
  • Outpatient Factors: Outpatient organizations (especially primary care providers) often have the advantage of having developed long-term relationships with patients, facilitating frequent engagement opportunities. That said, outpatient care also covers a wide range of needs from simple wellness visits for people with no underlying conditions, to complex care for individuals with multiple chronic conditions. These factors can make it challenging to engage individuals with infrequent health care needs or to establish a single strategy that is responsive to the wide range of patients being served. Outpatient care organizations should develop several engagement opportunities built around geographic locations, specific conditions, or areas of interest and ranging from open-door listening sessions to formal advisory councils. From a resource requirement perspective, outpatient organizations also may find it more difficult to secure meeting space or food service as compared to inpatient settings.

Self-Assessment Questions

On a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 indicating “strongly disagree” and 5 indicating “strongly agree”), rate your organization’s performance on the following questions:

  • The planning team engages with consumers, organization leadership and frontline staff to identify the issues each group is most interested in and concerned about.
  • Leadership at my organization looks to both positive and negative patient feedback to identify opportunities to improve.
  • Our organization-level plan for engagement includes a variety of ways for patients to engage depending on their availability and level of interest.
  • Our organization-level plan for engagement includes strategies that support the two-way flow of information and long-term relationship building with a group of patient advisors (i.e., collaborative and/or co-ownership strategies).
  • Our leadership team is enthusiastic about the proposed engagement strategies and actively promotes them within and outside the organization.


  1. Foundational Materials
The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.

Subscribe to Health Innovation Highlights

Health Innovation Highlights is a monthly newsletter that covers news and advocacy surrounding innovative projects underway to improve the U.S. health care system with the goal of realizing high-quality, equitable and people-centered care.

Subscribe now