Selected insights and reflections on literature about people and person-centred care in epidemics | 5 June 2020

By the Evidence and Evaluation for Improvement Team (EEvIT) at Healthcare Improvement Scotland's Improvement hub (ihub).

Healthcare Improvement Scotland has recognised that person-centred care ‘is delivered when health and social care professionals work together with people who use services, tailoring them to the needs of the individual and what matters to them’1.

Despite huge challenges in the current context, we’re helping to collate examples of how staff working directly with patients in acute care are using innovative ways to practice compassionate communication and support person-centred care. We’ve also been considering insights from literature2 on approaches to person-centred care from other epidemics, in settings beyond acute care, to inform our approach to literature scanning in the context of COVID-19.

Here we share some insights from selected articles relating to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa (2013-2015) and the ongoing TB epidemic.

In particular we considered:

  • Reflection #1 : Considering person-centred care as part of people-centred care
  • Reflection #2: Strengthening communities and systems through person-centred care
  • Reflection #3: Understanding the importance of local context and social dynamics

We’ve used these reflections to consider a broader approach to our search strategy in future evidence scans, which support the Health and social care learning in Scotland work currently underway.



Jaramillo J, Yadav R, Herrera R. Why every word counts: towards patient- and people-centered tuberculosis care. The international journal of tuberculosis and lung disease : the official journal of the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. 2019;23(5):547-551.

Martineau FP. People-centred health systems: building more resilient health systems in the wake of the Ebola crisis. International health. 2016;8(5):307-9.

Parker M, Hanson TM, Vandi A, Babawo LS & Allen T (2019) Ebola and Public Authority: Saving Loved Ones in Sierra Leone, Medical Anthropology, 38:5, 440-454, DOI: 10.1080/01459740.2019.1609472

Parker, M et al. Ebola, community engagement, and saving loved ones. 2019 The Lancet, Volume 393, Issue 10191, 2585

World Health Organisation (2016) Framework on integrated people-centred health services (IPCHS)



2 Excluding clinical or epidemiological literature

Do you have more examples you'd like us to share?

Please email your suggestions to