Patient Engagement Toolbox

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Common Questions Resources and Guides Description

What approaches to engagement can I try?

Choosing Methods for Patient Engagement (Health Quality Ontario)

A list of engagement methods for the Consult, Involve and Collaborate levels of engagement. Consider changing it up and trying a variety of engagement methods and engaging at varying points in your improvement journey.

How do I engage meaningfully?

Take Your Patient Partnering to the Next Level (Health Quality Ontario)

Health Quality Ontario has identified a few common challenges to engaging patients and families in quality improvement (QI) work and some suggestions, including how to make the most out of the input you receive, how to maximize the diversity of perspectives, and how to effectively communicate with your patient partners.

What are the principles of authentic engagement?

Principles for Authentic Engagement (Patient Voices BC)

A checklist to guide your efforts and principles of effective engagement.

I am working with a patient partner on an initiative. How do I prepare?

Opportunity Preparation Checklist (Patient Voice BC)

A checklist to help you think about what you need before moving forward with inviting a patient partner to any opportunity.

How do I communicate clearly using plain language with a patient partner?

A Plain Language Checklist for Health Care Professionals (Health Quality Ontario)

A best practice checklist to communicating with your patient partners effectively.

How do I make sure I am focusing on what really matters to my patients?

A Guide to Having Conversations About What Matters (BC Patient Safety & Quality Council)

Tips to facilitate meaningful conversations about what matters to a patient in their care including how to ask what matters to patients and focusing your projects on what matters to patients.

How do I identify a patient partner?

Demystifying Authentic Patient Engagement (Patient Voices BC)

Practical tips for engaging patient partners in your work. This guide contains how to identify a patient partner, tips for engaging underrepresented groups, and answers to frequently asked questions.

What materials can I provide to a patient partner to prepare them to engage in quality improvement (QI) work?

A Guide for Patient and Caregiver Advisors (Health Quality Ontario)

Improvement 101 Learning Series (BC Patient Safety & Quality Council)

A guide that orients patients, families, and caregivers to QI work, including how, why, and when they can engage in QI projects.

A series of modules with videos with a deeper dive on the language, methods, processes, tools, and techniques that health care teams are using to improve healthcare systems.

Who do I need to involve in my project and how do I ensure diversity?

Patient Voices Network: Considering Diversity (BC Patient Safety and Quality Council)

A two-page tip sheet with tips and considerations to help ensure that you have a diverse group of patient partners involved in your project.

How do I remove barriers to participation?

Recruiting for Diversity (Health Quality Ontario)

A two-page tip sheet with tips and considerations to help ensure that you have a diverse group of patient partners involved in your project.

How do you support meaningful participation avoiding the practices that silence people and match your engagement method to the needs of your patient?

Patient Engagement Heard and Valued (Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement)

In a collaboration with Fraser Health and the Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health, the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement has prepared a handbook to help guide you to engage patients that have not traditionally been heard in healthcare planning, with tips on how to prevent exclusion, create inclusive situations, and responsibly select engagement method and supports.

How should patient partners be compensated?

Should Money Come into It? (The Change Foundation)

The Canadian Change foundation has designed a tool to help you decide whether to pay a patient partner.

What information should I provide patient partners when doing qualitative interviews for a QI initiative?

QI Interview Consent Form

Sample patient consent and information letter for individual qualitative interviews (St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team).

What are some creative ways to understand the patient experience?

Email template to invite patients and caregivers to share their stories (Health Quality Ontario)

Patient Shadowing (Health Service Co-Design)

Empathy Mapping - Seeing Through the Eyes of the Patients (Alberta Health Services)

Sample invitation letter for patient and caregivers to share their story.


Joining a patient on their normal day as they experience their care journey can help you see through their eyes and capture the patient experience while asking questions. Review when, how, and why patient shadowing can be used.

Empathy mapping is a technique used to invite patients to take you on a journey so you can see their health experiences from their perspective and co-design improvements with them. The tip sheet provides information for why, when, and how to use empathy mapping.

Have a tool/resource to share that has been supportive to your patient engagement efforts in primary care? Email us at and we’ll upload and share the resource with others.