Using photovoice to explore patient perceptions of patient-centered care in the veterans affairs health care system

Salva Najib Balbale*, Megan A. Morris, Sherri L. LaVela

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Accounting for patient views and context is essential in evaluating and improving patient-centered care initiatives, yet few studies have examined the patient perspective. In the Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System, several VA facilities have transitioned from traditionally disease- or problem-based care to patient-centered care. We used photovoice to explore perceptions and experiences related to patient-centered care among Veterans receiving care in VA facilities that have implemented patient-centered care initiatives. Design: Participants were provided prompts to facilitate their photography, and were asked to capture salient features in their environment that may describe their experiences and perceptions related to patient-centered care. Follow-up interviews were conducted with each participant to learn more about their photographs and intended meanings. Participant demographic data were also collected. Results: Twenty-two Veteran patients (n = 22) across two VA sites participated in the photovoice protocol. Participants defined patient-centered care broadly as caring for a person as a whole while accommodating for individual needs and concerns. Participant-generated photography and interview data revealed various contextual factors influencing patient-centered care perceptions, including patient-provider communication and relationships, physical and social environments of care, and accessibility of care. Conclusions: This study contributes to the growing knowledge base around patient views and preferences regarding their care, care quality, and environments of care. Factors that shaped patient-centered care perceptions and the patient experience included communication with providers and staff, décor and signage, accessibility and transportation, programs and services offered, and informational resources. Our findings may be integrated into system redesign innovations and care design strategies that embody what is most meaningful to patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-195
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Using photovoice to explore patient perceptions of patient-centered care in the veterans affairs health care system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this