“The term “patient-centered” has been around for a long time. The Institute of Medicine brought it to prominence with its 2001 seminal report “Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century,” and the term was interwoven into goals embodied in the Affordable Care Act. Most recently, the term has gained increasing use—sprinkled across the confirmation hearings of the new Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and used in talking points for the American Health Care Act proposal.

At the New York Health Foundation (NYHealth), where we launched a new priority area, Empowering Health Care Consumersin 2016, it is gratifying to see that our nascent program is “on trend,” with both sides of the aisle extolling the virtues of a patient-centered health care system. But we have observed patient-centered become a Rorschach test, claimed equally by people with differing views as to what the term means.”

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