Soldier-Centered Care: A Concept Analysis

Academic Article


  • It is critical for the U.S. Army Medical Department to acknowledge the distinctive medical needs of soldiers and conceptualize soldier-centered care as a unique concept. In addition to the nationally recognized standards of patient-centered care, soldier-centered care includes provisions for the priorities of soldier health and wellness, injury prevention, illness and injury management, and the preservation of physical performance and medical readiness. The development of soldier-centered care as a distinctive concept may strengthen the evidence base for interventions that support improvements to soldier care and thus, enhance health outcomes specific to soldiers. The purpose of this article is to analyze the concept of soldier-centered care, clarify the meaning of soldier-centered care, and propose a theoretical definition. Methods: Rodgers' evolutionary concept analysis method was used to search and analyze the literature for related terms, attributes, antecedents, and consequences and to create a theoretical definition for soldier-centered care. Results: The results of this concept analysis indicated that soldier-centered care is realized through the presence of nine attributes: operational alignment of care, provider and support staff therapeutic competence, management of transitions and care coordination, technology and accessibility, management of limited and lost work days, trust and expectation management, leadership support, continuity, and access to care. Soldier-centered care is focused on health and wellness promotion, disease and injury prevention, and early diagnosis and treatment of acute injuries in the primary care setting to facilitate timely injury recovery, reduce reinjury, and prevent long-term disabilities. The result of soldier-centered care is enhanced physical performance, medical readiness, and deployability for soldiers. Based on the literature analysis, the following theoretical definition of soldier-centered care is proposed: Soldier-centered care is individualized, comprehensive healthcare tailored to the soldier's unique medical needs delivered by a care team of competent primary care providers and support staff who prioritize trust and expectation management, operational alignment of care, leadership support, care coordination, and the management of limited and lost workdays through the use of evidence-based practice approaches that employ innovative information technology to balance access to care and continuity. Conclusions: The concept of soldier-centered care often emerges in discussions about optimal physical performance and medical readiness for soldiers. Although soldier-centered care and patient-centered care have similar conceptual underpinning, it is important to clarify the unique physical and medical requirements for soldiers that differentiate soldier-centered care from patient-centered care. Implementing the defining attributes of soldier-centered care in the U.S. Army primary care setting may improve the quality of care and health outcomes for soldiers. When defining performance metrics for primary care models of care, the U.S. Army Medical Department must consider assessing outcomes specific to the soldier population. Developing empirical indicators for the attributes of soldier-centered care will support meaningful testing of the concept.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Taylor-Clark TM; Patrician PA
  • Start Page

  • e422
  • End Page

  • e430
  • Volume

  • 185
  • Issue

  • 3-4