As the patient engagement “movement” grows, there are many health care practitioners and health systems who want to interact differently with patients – whether to improve patient satisfaction scores, obtain pay for performance incentives, meet standards for Patient-Centered Medical Homes or Accountable Care Organizations, or from a heartfelt desire to collaborate to improve outcomes as defined by patients.
The question most ask is “how?”. “What does patient engagement look like in practice? What does it look like in my practice? What specifically do I do?”
Here are some examples (Hospital edition):
At the Institution Level —
- Hire and empower a Patient Ombudsman to elicit and respond to patient and family questions and concerns
- Get the administrators out of the office sometimes and take them on Executive Team Rounding to actually meet patients
- Conduct Patient/Family Surveys and Patient/Family Focus Groups and analyze, display, and use the data
- Convene Patient/Family Advisory Boards
- Appoint Patients and Patient family Members on your Governing Board
At the Health Care Practitioner Level
- Understand and assess your patients to ascertain their differences in preferences and capacity for engagement (Read Dr. Jerome Groopman’s and Dr. Pamela Hartzband’s Your Medical Mind)
- Give your patients and their families permission to partner with you. Voice your willingness to be answer questions, explain things more fully.
- Ask permission to connect with patients. (It demonstrates respect)
- Don’t swoop. As workflow permits, time your visits to patients when they are awake and family is present. (At 5:30 am after a restless night in the hospital most patients are not at their most cogent and inquisitive.)
- Share information.Share with your colleagues to enhance coordination and share with patients to help them ask the right questions and make the right decisions (for them).
- Start preparing patients for post-discharge self-management as early as possible
Thank you for your support