Person Centered Medical Education: North American Approaches

Main Article Content

Ted Epperly


Person-centered care is regaining importance in North America.  The concepts of the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and Accountable Care Organizations (ACO’s) is re-focusing attention on the need for the person to be at the center of the healthcare system.  Strategies to teach person-centered care are aimed at gaining a deeper appreciation of the life story of the person seated across from the physician in the examination room.  These strategies include active listening, providing praise, direct observation through videotaping and shadowing, role playing during Observed Structured Clinical Evaluations (OSCE’s), narrative medicine, motivational interviewing and seeing patients as teachers.  All of these strategies are aimed at deepening the doctor-patient relationship, humanizing the doctor-patient interaction and returning the joy of being a physician with decreasing physician burnout.

Article Details

Person-centered care: general aspects
Author Biography

Ted Epperly, Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, Boise; and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle

Ted Epperly, M.D., FAAFP, a family physician in Boise, Idaho, is the immediate past board chair of the American Academy of Family Physicians.  Previously, he served one-year terms as president and president-elect and three years as a member of the AAFP Board of Directors.Epperly is program director and chief executive officer of the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, Boise.  He also is clinical professor of family medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.  As AAFP board chair, Epperly advocates on behalf of family physicians and patients nationwide to inspire positive change in the U.S. health care system.A member of the AAFP since 1980, Epperly has advocated in many ways on behalf of family medicine and the patients the specialty serves.  He has utilized his academic experience in a variety of roles on the Commission on Education, including being the chairman.  He chaired the Program Directors Workshop Planning Committee for the Family Medicine Residency Directors National Workshop for three years.  He also has served as AAFP board liaison to the Commission of Practice Enhancement, Commission on Continuing Professional Development and the Commission on Health of the Public.Epperly has held all the elected positions in the Uniformed Services Academy of Family Physicians, including president.  He joined the Idaho Academy of Family Physicians when he retired as a Colonel from the U.S. Army in 2001 and returned to his home state of Idaho.Epperly earned his bachelor’s degree at Utah State University, Logan, graduating magna cum laude.  He earned his medical degree at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and completed his residency at Madigan Army Medical Center, Fort Lewis, Washington, where he served as chief resident.  He completed a family medicine faculty development fellowship at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.Epperly is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine with a Certificate of Added Qualification in Geriatrics.  He also has the AAFP Degree of Fellow, an earned degree awarded to family physicians for distinguished service and continuing medical education.Epperly is a member of the editorial board of the Annals of Family Medicine and the advisory board of Men’s Health.  He also is a reviewer for the Annals of Family Medicine and American Family Physician.  He was a residency assistance program consultant before becoming a member of the Accreditation Council for the Graduate Medical Education Residency Review Committee for family medicine, which is responsible for the accreditation of the nation’s family medicine residencies, sports medicine and geriatrics fellowships.Epperly serves as a commissioner of the Central District Board of Health for the four-county area surrounding Boise.  In addition, he has published more than 45 peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters, and given hundreds of lectures nationally and internationally.  Epperly has done over 500 media interviews with all major TV, radio, newspapers and magazines.  He has met and spoken with President Obama on several occasions including the oval office and testified before Congress on multiple occasions about the centrality and importance of family medicine.  Modern Healthcare ranks Epperly as one of the 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare regarding health care in our nation.


. Engel, G.L. (1980). The Clinical Application of the Biopsychosocial model. American Journal of Psychiatry 137, 535-544.

. McGinnis, J.M. & Foege, W.H. (1993). Actual Causes of Death in the United States. Journal of the American Medical Association 270, 2207-2212.

. Prochaska, J.O., DiClemente, C.C. & Norcross, J.C. (1992). In Search of How People Change. American Psychologist. 47 (9) 1102-1114.

. Epperly, T.D. (2011). The Patient-Centered Medical Home in the USA. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 17, 373-375.

. Pink, D.H. (2005). A Whole New Mind: Moving From the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. Riverhead Books: New York, New York.

. Epperly, T.D. (2012). Fractured: America’s Broken Health Care System and What We Must Do to Heal It. Sterling and Ross Publishers: New York, New York. Will be published in January, 2012.