Background: Recent changes in the structure and policy context of\ud Dutch health care have placed the issue of citizen participation\ud high on the agenda of the Dutch Healthcare Inspectorate (IGZ),\ud which conducts quality and safety reviews in medical practices and\ud health-care institutions. With a few exceptions, the potential role\ud that citizens can play in the regulation of health-care institutions is\ud overlooked in research on patient/citizen participation in health\ud care. \ud Objective: This research addressed the following question: What\ud are the (political) expectations for increasing citizen participation\ud in health-care regulation and how do these compare to regulators’\ud expectations and experiences in practice? \ud Design: Because of the largely explorative nature of this study, we\ud used qualitative methods (document and web analysis, focus\ud groups and interviews) to answer this question. \ud Results: Our study shows that inspectors already have experience\ud with participatory formats that lead to important information.\ud There are three areas where the IGZ is currently increasing citizen\ud participation: (i) providing individuals with information about\ud inspectorate processes and activities, (ii) including patients as\ud sources of information, and (iii) formally reviewing how citizen\ud participation is ensured by health-care institutions. In situations\ud where the patient has the clearest overview of the whole care trajectory,\ud intensive methods of participation deliver valuable information. \ud Conclusions: It is important to target participation activities and to\ud capitalize on existing opportunities and activities, rather than creating\ud participation activities for the sake of participation. In this\ud regard, further research on the effectiveness and efficacy of different\ud participatory strategies is necessary
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