Patient engagement in primary care has been the focus of many studies; however, little research has evaluated its added value to organisational management in an academic community-based primary care practice (ACBPCP). In 2017, managers of an ACBPCP in Montreal, Canada, decided to integrate patients into the organization’s management committee to enhance the quality and relevance of decision-making for clinical services, education and research.

Objectives were to 1) assess patients’ role and influence on an ACBPCP management committee’s decision-making process; 2) identify the facilitators of and obstacles to patient involvement in this context; and 3) evaluate the impact of this innovative approach in promoting a patient partnership culture throughout the organization. Using a single case study, qualitative and quantitative data was collected between June 2017 and May 2019 from three levels: 1) professionals in charge of patient partnership working within the territorial health care organization’s quality division; 2) management committee; and 3) ACBPCP’s staff outside the committee. Successful patient governance relies on a structured engagement approach, including a rigorous recruitment process, joined training and coaching of all committee members and the development of work modalities that facilitate co-construction. Multilevel leadership is also fundamental to support a partnership culture throughout the organisation. The results of this study illustrate opportunities and challenges related to patient involvement at an ACBPCP’s organizational level. They can guide other community-based primary care practices interested in involving patients in their management activities.

Experience Framework

This article is associated with the Patient, Family & Community Engagement lens of The Beryl Institute Experience Framework (https://www.theberylinstitute.org/ExperienceFramework).