The Path to Patient-Centred Care


Kinnon MacKinnon


Close-up of a document titled "The Path to Patient-Centred Care". The subtitle reads, "The Path to Patient-Centred Care is a tool offering better patient-centred care for older adults seeking medicine in Canada." Blue and red graphic elements are present on the document.

The WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health) standards of care articulate professional guidelines about the psychiatric, psychological, medical, and surgical management for transgender patients seeking support with surgery and/or hormone treatment. While the WPATH is considered the gold standard of care, and is required to be followed for provincially-funded gender-affirming surgeries, this model offers little in terms of patient-centred care.

In contrast, the informed consent model is more accessible, holistic, gender-affirming and patient-centred. Clinicians have taken steps toward applying the informed consent model, but are faced with challenges when trying to work in a patient-centred way: a lack of clarity around how to apply an informed consent model within the WPATH standard of care; the requirement of WPATH for provincial funding for surgeries, the requirement of two evaluators, etc. While the WPATH standards of care articulate guidelines, there is room for interpretation and flexibility in how those guidelines are understood and applied.

The Need

We were invited to develop a strategy and design public-facing materials to:

  • provide clarity around ways of applying an informed consent model to both surgeries and hormones;
  • build knowledge and capacity around the evidence-based need and importance of applying an informed consent model;
  • build an advocacy base to replace WPATH with informed consent as the gold-standard of care;
  • support clinicians in applying the informed consent model by providing clear tools and workarounds; and
  • draw on research to address concerns around applying the informed consent model (eg. feat of patient regret, lawsuits, etc.).

The Work

After conceptualizing some key deliverables (a hand-held guide, fold-out poster, online toolkit and mailing list template), we developed a creative framing and strategy that positioned Dr. MacKinnon’s research through the lens of patient-centred care:

The Idea

The path to patient-centred care

The path to patient-centred care is a framing that acknowledges the WPATH as the current standard of care, while providing alternative interpretations. These interpretations detail direct connections between criteria and alternative steps, offering the informed consent model as a mechanism to achieve patient-centred care.

Through this framing, we created a website, print materials and an e-newsletter template. The design operates as a “road map,” taking the clinician through the steps of WPATH and offering alternative routes to effectively practice and advocate for patient-centred care, while introducing the informed consent model as an alternative.

Illustration of a laptop screen displaying a webpage. The page is titled "How to Implement," featuring sections like "Step-by-step guide to hormones" and "Step-by-step guide to surgeries." There's also an FAQ section and a "Clinical Vignettes" button.

Visit the site at, and follow Dr. Kinnon MacKinnon’s work on TikTok at @‌prof.kinnonv.

A close-up of an open booklet titled "The Path to Patient-Centred Care." The text discusses informing health care decisions, focusing on informed consent. The booklet is on a gray surface, and part of another document is visible in the top left corner.

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