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Examining the knowledge work of person-centred care: Towards epistemic reciprocity

Dell'Olio, Myriam; Whybrow, Paul; Reeve, J.


Paul Whybrow


Objective: It is increasingly recognised that when healthcare staff fails to give adequate credence to patients' illness-related knowledge work, this epistemic injustice undermines person-centred care. Therefore, we set out to examine the experiences of people with long-term conditions with knowledge work in healthcare settings to identify changes needed to strengthen person-centred primary care. Methods: We designed a qualitative study and recruited people with long-term conditions in the UK. We conducted individual interviews (analysed using interpretive phenomenological analysis) and focus groups (analysed using thematic analysis), then integrated findings from both methods through an approach focused on their complementarity. Results: Participants described how successful person-centred consultations were characterised by a negotiation between patient and doctor and moments of broad exploration, reflexive listening, and reciprocal enquiry, which allowed for epistemic reciprocity. Conclusions: Epistemic reciprocity is a core component of person-centred clinical consultations, fostering the co-creation of new knowledge of patient experience and need through the interactive knowledge work of patient and doctor. Practice implications: Medical education could benefit from initiatives that develop knowledge use and integration skills across primary care professionals. Accommodating for patient's and doctor's knowledge work during clinical practice requires redesigning the consultation process, including timing, headspace, pre-consultation, and post-consultation work.


Dell'Olio, M., Whybrow, P., & Reeve, J. (2023). Examining the knowledge work of person-centred care: Towards epistemic reciprocity. Patient Education and Counseling, 107, Article 107575.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 18, 2022
Online Publication Date Nov 21, 2022
Publication Date Feb 1, 2023
Deposit Date Nov 19, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 22, 2023
Journal Patient Education and Counseling
Print ISSN 0738-3991
Electronic ISSN 1873-5134
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 107
Article Number 107575
Public URL


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