Patients are essential to practice improvement efforts. They are the experts in their lives and know more than anyone else what it is like to receive care in the practice.
It is important to engage patients and families both as members of the care team and as partners in practice improvement.
As partners in practice improvement, patients make up part of steering committees, advisory boards, and quality improvement committees. They may help to make decisions about priorities for improvement, formulate and implement new policies or programs, and share information about new programs with other patients. Patients may also serve as “mystery shoppers” to provide customer service or navigational feedback to the practice that can guide their improvement efforts.
Some health centers, such as FQHCs, are required to have patients on their governing board or advisory board. In addition to forming boards, it is vital that health centers ensure that their patient board members have the skills and confidence to engage in decision making in a meaningful way . . . and that when they speak up, health center leadership listens!
Some of our work around patient engagement include:
Patient Engagement Webinar Series
Hosted in partnership with Center for Care Innovations and funded by the Blue Shield of California Foundation, each webinar in this series will focus on a different topic regarding patient engagement at the organizational level. The goal of this work is to promote best practices for how to support patient engagement within the primary care safety net setting.
Watch our past webinars here.
Family Medicine for America's Health
Family Medicine for America’s Health is a new collaboration between the eight leading family medicine organizations in the United States to drive continued improvement of the U.S. health care system and demonstrate the value of true primary care. One effort seeks to engage patients as partners in transforming primary care practices and the healthcare system at large to enhance the patient experience, improve community health, and reduce costs
We will be focusing on bright spots around the country who have already embodied this in their practice. Case studies will be shared here as they are completed.
Patient Advisory Councils vs Board of Directors at FQHCs
Federally qualified health centers (FQHC) are community health centers established to serve underserved communities. Federal mandate requires 51% membership of patients/community members on the board of directors at FQHCs.
This project, funded by the Blue Shield of California Foundation, seeks to compare and contrast patient involvement between membership on a patient advisory council versus the mandatory board of directors.
Tools to learn more
- Check out this practical guide from the San Francisco General Hospital Family Health Center: Starting and Sustaining a Patient Advisory Board: a Guide for Clinic Staff on Recruiting, Training, and Engaging Patients to Service as Patient Advisors on a Patient Advisory Board
- Read about how the Nuka System of Care at Southcentral Foundation (Alaska) has engaged patients at all levels of their transformation
- Watch a video about engaging patients in improving care (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation): Watch NOW!