Health Care Analysis 28 (1):62-72 (2020)

The philosophy of patient-centred care has become widely embraced but its implementation is dependent on interrelated factors. A factor that has received limited attention is the role of policy tools. In Ontario, one method government can use to promote healthcare priorities is through health regulatory colleges, which set the standard of practice for health professionals. The degree to which government policy in support of patient-centered care has influenced the direction provided by health regulatory colleges to their members, and ultimately impacted actual patient care, remains unclear. This study investigates the extent to which Ontario’s health regulatory colleges have provided explicit written guidance to members related to the importance of patient-centred care. It also explores applied and theoretical explanations that may further our understanding of why patient-centred care has not been more fully embraced. Findings reveal that guidance provided by Ontario’s health regulatory colleges varies widely. Institutional barriers and the choice of policy tools for disseminating government preferences may hinder full implementation of the principles of patient-centred care. More fully understanding the role health regulatory colleges’ play in facilitating the implementation of health policy will contribute positively to dialogue and to efforts to achieve positive health system reforms.
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DOI 10.1007/s10728-019-00386-6
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