Diversity of interpretations of the concept “patient-centered care for breast cancer patients”: a scoping review of current literature

Elise Pel*, Ingeborg Engelberts, Maartje Schermer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


Rationale, aims and objectives: Patient-centered care is considered a vital component of good quality care for breast cancer patients. Nevertheless, the implementation of this valuable concept in clinical practice appears to be difficult. The goal of this study is to bridge the gap between theoretical elaboration of “patient-centered care” and clinical practice. To that purpose, a scoping analysis was performed of the application of the term “patient-centered care in breast cancer treatment” in present-day literature. Method: For data-extraction, a literature search was performed extracting references that were published in 2018 and included the terms “patient-centered care” and “breast cancer”. The articles were systematically traced for answers to the following three questions: “What is patient-centered care?”, “Why perform patient-centered care?”, and “How to realize patient-centered care?”. For the content analysis, these answers were coded and assembled into meaningful clusters until separate themes arose which concur with various interpretations of the term “patient-centered care”. Results: A total of 60 publications were retained for analysis. Traced answers to the three questions “what”, “why”, and “how” varied considerably in recent literature concerning breast cancer treatment. Despite the inconsistent use of the term “patient-centered care,” we did not find any critical consideration about the nature of the concept, regardless of the applied interpretation. Interventions that are supposed to contribute to the heterogeneous concept of patient-centered care as such, seem to be judged desirable, virtually without empirical justification. Conclusions: We propose, contrary to previous efforts to define “patient-centered care” more accurately, to embrace the heterogeneity of the concept and apply “patient-centered care” as an umbrella-term for all healthcare that intends to contribute to the acknowledgement of the person in the patient. For the justification of measures to realize patient-centered care for breast cancer patients, instead of a mere contribution to the abstract concept, we insist on the demonstration of desirable real-world effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-793
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Issue number5
Early online date17 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to express their thanks to Wichor M. Bramer, specialist in biomedical information, for performing the search in literature. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or non-profit sectors.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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