Collaboration between laypersons and professionals is closely linked to the concept of patient centeredness. Patient centeredness means meeting the needs of individual patients as well as reacting to patients’ demands on the collective level. The support of self-help groups and their integration into healthcare institutions represent a major policy approach to fulfilling this requirement. Here, we first deal with the concept of patient centeredness in general, and the understanding of concept and use in Germany. We also provide a short definition of self-help friendliness (SHF) and discuss the success achieved in implementing it in Germany so far. We then clarify the closely related concepts of patient centeredness, patient participation and patient involvement SHF is seen as a strategy for increasing both patient centeredness and patient participation in healthcare services. We subsequently describe the involvement of self-help groups and patient associations in a series of empirical studies and practice-oriented projects carried out between 2004 and 2013. The last section contains a general discussion of the SHF approach as a means of systematically increasing sustainable patient centeredness and patient participation in healthcare services. Finally, we address the chances for future development in Germany and the transferability of SHF to other countries.
Part of the book: Patient Centered Medicine