Positive relationships with health care providers and continuity of care within the health system are key to improving health outcomes for patients. Patients who have positive experiences with their doctors – where the patient feels that they are taken seriously and that their values and preferences are taken into account – are more likely to maintain contact with their providers and the health system, adhere to treatment plans and have better health outcomes (Doyle et al. 2012) and are better able to manage their health (WHO 2016).

Patient-centred care approaches, such as encouraging regular contact, developing individualised care plans and involving patients in decisions about their care are particularly effective for improving the health outcomes of patients with chronic conditions (Poitras et al. 2018). Successful patient-centred care approaches are underpinned by good communication: having respectful, two-way conversations and spending adequate time with patients to address their issues and needs. Improving the health outcomes of people with chronic conditions requires an understanding of their current experiences in the health system and exploration of where those experiences could be improved.

What is in this report?

The main PDF report and this accompanying web report aim to fill some of the existing gaps in information on patient experiences of care for two key groups of chronic conditions patients: patients with multiple chronic conditions and patients with mental health conditions. This work is guided by the following research questions:

  • are people with chronic conditions having the kinds of experiences that reflect a relationship of trust and respect with their doctors?
  • how do patient experiences vary depending on the number of conditions patients have, as well as with the presence of mental health conditions?
  • how do patient experiences vary depending on selected sociodemographic characteristics?

The information in this web report should be looked at in conjunction with Experiences in healthcare for people with chronic conditions: how GPs and other specialists communicate with their patients. The PDF report explores differences in patient experiences by patient characteristics and provides information to help users interpret the patient experience data.


Doyle C, Lennox L, Bell D 2012. A systematic review of evidence on the links between patient experience and clinical safety and effectiveness. BMJ Open 2013(3). doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001570

Poitras ME, Maltais ME, Bestard-Denommé L, Stewart M, Fortin M 2018. What are the effective elements in patient-centered and multimorbidity care? A scoping review. BMC Health Services Research. 18(1):446.

World Health Organization 2016. Patient engagement: technical series on safer primary care. Viewed 23 October 2019.