Collecting information on patient experience and outcomes of care may be a good starting point for engaging patients on an organizational level. Patient experience is defined as the interaction patients have with the healthcare system. This includes every aspect of healthcare, including the yield from health plans, the behavior of doctors and medical staff, various healthcare facilities, and physical tests. Delivering quality care is the most important part of the patient experience. Ensuring a good patient experience means meeting the patient’s expectations in times of need. Surveys, online feedback, and focus groups are frequently used to gain insight into the needs, preferences, and values that are necessary to improve quality of care.
Patient satisfaction is linked to patient experience; in fact, the two can be considered co-dependent. Patient satisfaction is a fulfillment of patient expectations of the healthcare they receive. Different patients will have different levels of satisfaction for the same quality of healthcare because they have different kinds of expectations. It is difficult to look at patient satisfaction as an official measure for improvement. This is because patient satisfaction depends on factors as minor as the layout of a room or how well nurses instructed them on their medications. However, the importance of patient satisfaction cannot be overlooked. It is tied to reimbursement for healthcare organizations and is weighted heavily with value-based purchasing. Patient satisfaction survey data is being used more widely. Mandates from CMS, The National Committee for Quality Assurance, and other payers link patient satisfaction survey data to improved performance and outcomes. Hospitals are required by CMS to assess patient satisfaction as a condition of participation, and results are publicly displayed on Hospital Compare.
“When advisors and health care professionals are guided by mutual respect and a thirst to understand each other’s perspective, priorities, and hopes, true collaboration begins. The gift…is a profound sense of true engagement for positive change.”|
Juliette Schlucter (Excerpted from Words of Advice: A Guide for Patient, Resident, and Family Advisors)
Patient and family advisors want to improve the quality of care for all patients and family members. They give feedback to the hospital based on their experience as a patient or family member. Patients and family members serve as advisors in many healthcare systems by providing insight and perspective on committees such as patient safety, facility design, quality improvement, patient and family education, ethics, and research. They actively participate on the committee and can present agenda items for committee consideration. They form a meaningful partnership that improves quality and safety. Some organizations, such as Dana Farber, have patients involved in every committee within the organization.
Here are other potential roles:
PFAC members bring their experiences in partnering with healthcare professionals to a forum where they can share their ideas and unique perspectives with the healthcare team. A PFAC consists of patients and family members who have received care at an organization, along with administrators, clinicians, and staff. The forum provides an opportunity for the following: