Working with our partners Ipsos MORI, we have produced detailed guidance and an offer of services to address this question. This webpage contains information about the work, and all the products from it.  

Please get in touch if you would like to improve your use of person-centred intelligence.  

We are at risk of losing sight of what matters to the populations we serve… 

The move towards system working in health and care is commendable and offers an opportunity to begin to reverse some of the fragmentation that has evolved over the last few decades. There is clearly a significant desire to move towards funding and monitoring arrangements that are based on outcomes. This is particularly important as systems aspire to take responsibility for optimising health and care resources. So, in these systems, what is measured will really matter.  

Do systems really understand the measures that their populations would value? 

There’s a strong policy steer towards a person-centred worldview – with personalisation and involvement coming to the fore. And many health and care systems have explicitly stated intentions which support this, intending to implement measures which focus on the needs of the people they serve and to involve them in the process of deciding what to measure and how to measure it. We would describe this approach as ‘person-centred’ intelligence. 

All too frequently, not enough effort is expended towards finding out… 

Involvement can be surface level or an afterthought, the preferences of a few individuals can be inappropriately extrapolated, or it gets put in the ‘too hard for now/TBC’ pile and ultimately side-lined. There is also often a limited awareness of the data that is already being collected and the lessons that can be learned from elsewhere.  

Systems can unnecessarily feel as though they are starting from scratch. Elsewhere, we’ve seen large quantities of data being collected without a clearly articulated purpose, leading to disengagement from frontline staff – which seems to represent a huge missed opportunity. Even where well-defined, quantitative measures have been chosen (such as PROMS), lack of resources or a lack of overall direction has caused projects to stall in the early stages of implementation. 

How could we do things differently? 

There is certainly a need for more structure and discipline in implementation. But we think the answer is predicated on spending far more time on the question of ‘why’ in the first instance – and to do that in partnership with the population that is being served. Why are we looking to measure something? What decisions will it inform? What impact are we hoping it will achieve?  

In health and care, we’re entrusted to make decisions that use the benefits of our knowledge, skills and experience – but that doesn’t extend to making assumptions as to ‘what matters’ to the population. It is therefore our responsibility to seek out the opportunities to build our understanding, to provide the mechanisms for involvement in the decision-making process, for those who want it. And to keep returning to ‘why’ and ‘what matters’ as the touchstone questions as work progresses. 

We’ve developed an approach to implementing ‘person-centred intelligence’ at system level 

It is supplemented by a series of ‘explainers’ which explore key considerations in more detail (for example designing and selecting a sample, choosing methods for data collection etc.). Our work is informed by the views of national policy experts, clinicians, researchers and practitioners, as well as our findings from a detailed review of the current evidence.  

We have also drawn on expertise and experience from our team at The Strategy Unit and Ipsos MORI. And it is accompanied by an offer of support at every stage, which can range from informal advice, through to acting as a delivery partner at each stage of implementation.  

We want this to be the start of a move towards systems making a significant effort to genuinely understand the preferences of their populations and to involve them in the decision-making process about what to measure and how.  

If you’d like to be part of this – please get in touch


Glossary of Terms  This document focuses on the terminology associated with person-centred care and person-centred measures, providing definitions of frequently used terms and links to relevant source material.
Useful Resources

This document collates links to useful resources spanning person-centred care and person-centred measures, which have informed our work in this area.

Patient Activation 

This document focuses on the concept of ‘patient activation’, summarising our findings within the published literature. We provide an overview of this topic, chosen given its recent prominence in national policy.

Person-Centred Measures

This document outlines the concept of ‘person reported measures’. It describes the main subtypes of person reported measures, how they can be used and some of the key challenges to implementation.

Person-Centred Care

This document focuses specifically on the concept of ‘person-centred care’, summarising at high level our findings within the published literature. We provide an introduction to the changing perspectives towards health and care, in particular the move towards more holistic and person-centred approaches.

Interpreting and using data 

This guide focuses on the steps following data collection – including assessing data quality, analysing and interpreting data and using it to inform decisions.

Implementing data collection

This guide outlines the options for implementing person-centred measures, including adding new questions to existing data collections and undertaking new data collections (either in-house or through a supplier). It also describes approaches for maximising response rates.

Selecting a methodology for a new data collection

This guide is aimed at those who have identified that existing data do not provide the information they require and must therefore arrange a new data collection. It describes different approaches to collecting data, their pros and cons and a set of practical considerations when selecting a methodology.

Designing and selecting a sample

This guide focuses on the steps involved in creating a sampling plan – including defining target populations, identifying a sampling frame, deciding on sample size and selecting the sample. It also describes broader considerations such as statistical reliability and data protection issues.

Selecting the right measure 

This guide outlines a suggested approach to choosing measures and describes some of the measures that matter to patients, carers and staff. It also lists a range of resources that can be drawn on to support the selection of measures.

Stakeholder perspectives on patient activation

This document presents perspectives and case studies on ‘patient activation’. It draws on 9 interviews with stakeholders working in or with the NHS, implementing measures of patient activation (focusing on the Patient Activation Measure – PAM). It explores the real-life use of PAM to inform practical guidance.

Stakeholder perspectives on PCI 

This document presents stakeholder perspectives on person-centred care and person-centred intelligence, with a particular focus on the factors that impact implementation. It draws on findings from 18 interviews that explored expert opinion and real-life use of PCI, to inform our practical guidance and recommendations.