One aspect of our fiscal year 2013 Strategic Plan is the development of a Patient Family Advisory Council. A group of hospital and clinic staff have been assembled to identify patients, non-patients and community members to serve on a Patient Family Advisory Council and provide us input on processes and services.
As the group of hospital staff began working on the project they quickly realized that there’s a lot of work to be done before identifying a council. The first step is to determine where GVMH falls on the patient family centered care continuum.
We do a great job measuring patient satisfaction to measure how well we serve patients but patient satisfaction measurement is performed after a patient experiences one of our services. A truly patient and family centered facility asks patients how a service should be designed and how the patient and family want the service to be delivered.
Being a truly patient and family centered care facility is difficult and the difficult aspect is transfer of control. Historically hospitals have delivered care and designed services based on what the hospital believes is best for the patient. In some regards the hospital does know best, after all, no one knows the provision of healthcare better than the entity that provides it each and every day. Where hospitals have fallen short is in asking patients and families how they want that care delivered.
For example, hospitals know better than patients how to perform a colonoscopy but patients know better than hospitals the times of day and days of the week the patient prefers the service to be offered. The admitting process is another easy example. Hospitals have traditionally designated an area that patients must visit prior to receiving a service. The purpose of the visit to the admitting area is to allow the hospital an opportunity to collect information to make the collection of money following the service more convenient and efficient. If a hospital wants to collect money should the hospital go to the patient to collect the information or make the patient come to a specific location that may be out of the way and inconvenient.
Think about the service you provide. Is your service designed with the needs of patients and families in mind or is it designed to be convenient for staff and physicians. Becoming truly patient and family centered as an organization is difficult and challenging but don’t our patients deserve as much and wouldn’t you expect as much if you or your family member were the patient.