Role of active patient involvement in undergraduate medical education: a systematic review

Stijntje Willemijn Dijk*, Edwin Johan Duijzer, Matthias Wienold

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)
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    Objectives To identify the scope of active patient involvement in medical education, addressing the current knowledge gaps relating to rationale and motivation for involvement, recruitment and preparation, roles, learning outcomes and key procedural contributors. Methods The authors performed a systematic search of the PubMed database of publications between 2003 and 2018. Original studies in which patients take on active roles in the development, delivery or evaluation of undergraduate medical education and written in English were eligible for inclusion. Included studies' references were searched for additional articles. Quality of papers was assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Results 49 articles were included in the review. Drivers for patient involvement included policy requirements and patients' own motivations to contribute to society and learning. Patients were engaged in a variety of educational settings in and outside of the hospital. The vast majority of studies describe patients taking on the role of a patient teacher and formative assessor. More recent studies suggest that patients are increasingly involved in course and curriculum development, student selection and summative assessment. The new body of empirical evidence shows the wide range of learning objectives was pursued through patient participation, including competencies as professional, communicator, collaborator, leader and health advocate, but not scholar. Measures to support sustainable patient involvement included longitudinal institutional incorporation, patient recruitment and/or training, resource support and clear commitment by faculty. The importance and advantages of patient involvement were highlighted by students, faculty and patients themselves; however, organisations must continue to consider, monitor and take steps to mitigate any potential harms to patients and students. Discussion This systematic review provides new knowledge and practical insights to physicians and faculty on how to incorporate active patient involvement in their institutions and daily practice, and provides suggested action points to patient organisations wishing to engage in medical education.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number037217
    Number of pages11
    JournalBMJ Open
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    • education & training (see medical education & training)
    • medical education & training
    • health services administration & management
    • HEALTH

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