Patient Experience of Privacy while Participating in Group Healthcare
Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative research was to describe the phenomenon of privacy as experienced and conceptualized by patients who participated in the CenteringPregnancy model of group healthcare. Background: In healthcare, privacy is an ethical and legal right. Healthcare providers have an obligation to protect patient privacy and confidentiality. Group healthcare is an innovative approach that brings together a group of patients with a team of providers, offering the opportunity for holistic, integrated, and coordinated healthcare. Group healthcare challenges how healthcare providers manage privacy and confidentiality. Knowledge about patients’ experiences of privacy during group healthcare such as CenteringPregnancy is fundamental to developing an understanding of the risks and benefits incurred during group healthcare visits. Research focused on uncovering the patient experience of privacy within the context of group healthcare can provide useful direction for improving the patient care experience and health outcomes. Research Questions: 1) What is the privacy experience of women who participated in CenteringPregnancy? 2) How does the patient experience of privacy in a group healthcare setting differ from the experience of privacy during individual care? Methods: This qualitative research used phenomenography to examine the experiences of privacy for 15 women who participated in CenteringPregnancy at a large multisite, multispecialty healthcare practice. Results: Four main concepts related to privacy were identified. My Privacy: Agency of the Self emerged as the primary conception of privacy for both group and individual care settings. My Provider: Protecting My Privacy focused on the critical role of the group facilitator in protecting confidentiality and establishing group privacy. The Dynamics of Group Privacy encompassed the relational processes of trusting, respecting, and sharing. Benefits of Participating in Group Healthcare included friendship, comradery, learning, and relief of feelings of isolation, fear, and anxiety. Conclusions: Women’s experiences of privacy within the context of CenteringPregnancy were positive. Findings can guide recruitment efforts and the facilitation and management of the group environment. Healthcare providers can offer a full description of privacy within group healthcare settings as part of recruitment and informed consent and emphasize the shared responsibility for group privacy among all members in the group.