Principles for Authentic Engagement

Meaningful patient and public engagement doesn’t happen by accident – it takes deliberate effort and a commitment to remain open and collaborative throughout the process.

To help guide you in these efforts, please consider the following Principles of Authentic Engagement and ask yourself whether you are including patients in a way that is of value to you, to them, and to our health care system:

1. People affected by a decision are involved in the process

As leaders and decision-makers, we acknowledge that it is important for patients and other stakeholders to have their voices and opinions heard when there is a decision that will impact them in some way.

2. The engagement organizer promises that the patients’ input will contribute to the final outcome

We engage patients at a point where their input can make a difference, and the expectations around how this input will be used will be communicated early on in the process.

3. Long-lasting and sustainable decisions recognize the needs and interests of all parties

Our goal should be to find solutions and improvements that will be supported both now and in the future. By engaging patients in our work from the earliest stages of improvement, we can see where we need to go to achieve a mutually-agreeable solution that will best serve everyone’s needs.

4. Every effort will be made to ensure that all perspectives are sought out and invited to participate

We are comfortable hearing from a diverse range of opinions – even if they are not in agreement with what we want to see. This helps establish a mutually-agreeable and widely supported decision.

5. All participants are supported and provided with the necessary information to ensure that they are able to participate fully right away

While patients bring a unique perspective to our work, we cannot assume that they are as well-versed in the technical aspects of health care. Care should be taken to ensure that they are given enough support and information so that they can participate in a meaningful way.

6. Patients and other participants are kept updated throughout the process about how their input is/has shaped the final decision

By inviting patients into our work, we ensure that our patients receive regular updates on how the decision is progressing and how their input and expertise was used. Closing the loop in a timely manner helps create value for their contributions.


Source:  Adapted from The International Association of Public Participation (www.iap2.org) and National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation’s “Core Principles for public engagement”

Resource Category

Health Care Partner

Resource Type

Tips & Checklists

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