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Need for patient-developed concepts of empowerment to rectify epistemic injustice and advance person-centred care
  1. Brenda Bogaert1,2
  1. 1 Healthcare Values Chair, Institut de Recherches Philosophiques de Lyon, Jean Moulin University Lyon 3, Lyon 69007, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France
  2. 2 Humanities and Social Sciences Department, Laboratory of Sciences, Société, Historicité, Éducation et Pratiques (S2HEP), Universite Lyon 1 Faculte de Medecine Lyon-Est, Lyon 69008, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France
  1. Correspondence to Dr Brenda Bogaert, Philosophy, Jean Moulin University Lyon 3, Lyon, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France; brenda.bogaert{at}


The dominant discourse in chronic disease management centres on the ideal of person-centred healthcare, with an empowered patient taking an active role in decision-making with their healthcare provider. Despite these encouraging developments toward healthcare democracy, many person-centred conceptions of healthcare and programming continue to focus on the healthcare institution’s perspective and priorities. In these debates, the patient’s voice has largely been absent. This article takes the example of patient empowerment to show how the concept has been influenced by a variety of competing and shifting influences that have led to conceptualisations and programming designed for the patient, but developed without the patient. The framework of epistemic injustice is proposed to unravel the complexity of these omissions. The concept can be defined as a wrong done to someone specifically in their capacity as a knower. It occurs when a person is ignored or not believed due to a prejudice of some kind. It has been applied to healthcare in order to better understand barriers for patient participation and will be used to better understand the problems with current empowerment definitions and implementation strategies. The article will end by proposing some methodologies to facilitate patient-developed concepts of empowerment.

  • applied and professional ethics
  • clinical ethics
  • decision-making
  • health promotion
  • paternalism

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  • Contributors BB is the sole contributor to this paper.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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