With the increasing use of decision aids, patient portals, access to medical records, and care engagement plans, and the spread of Patient and Family Advisory Councils, healthcare leaders and clinicians are realizing the importance and benefits of engaging patients and families as integral partners. Patient and family perspectives are valuable in many arenas, from design of the physical environment and care coordination to influencing local and national policy. Patient engagement should be genuine and take place across the continuum.
Several tools can help us to measure various aspects of patient engagement, including PAM™, Patient Reported Outcome Measures, and the National Accountable Care Organization Patient Activation and Engagement Survey. Although metrics for patient, public, consumer, and community engagement are growing globally, its formal evaluation remains a challenge.
Although some organizations are fully engaging patients in the care process, there are also abundant opportunities for improvement. Many organizations lack effective PFACs and have not devoted resources and training that support shared decision making practices or decision aids. As care shifts from inpatient to ambulatory, patients and families are asked to deliver their own care; however, they may not be equipped to manage complicated medication regimens, activities of daily living, medical devices, or infection control procedures.
Evidence indicates that collecting and analyzing patient feedback and making patients equal partners in their care support improved outcomes and patient experience. Opportunities abound to partner with patients, families, and communities to hasten improvements in education, safety, patient experience, and quality of care.
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