When family physicians are able to engage patients and their families as partners in making health care decisions, magic happens. Research has shown that health outcomes improve, patient satisfaction goes up, and health care costs go down.
Countless family physicians have experienced this phenomenon first-hand and know it to be true.
But wouldn't it be nice to have a playbook of sorts -- a guide that outlines a purposeful set of steps to get an entire family medicine practice working in that direction?
Well, such a road map is now available free of charge from the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC),(www.pcpcc.org) a nonprofit organization founded in 2006 and headquartered in Washington, D.C.
Download this valuable new resource(www.pcpcc.org), titled "6 Steps to Creating a Culture of Person and Family Engagement in Health Care," for strategies to include the patient voice in every aspect of care delivery.
More About the PCPCC
The Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC) is a multistakeholder membership organization that advocates for a U.S. health care system built on a foundation of primary care and the patient-centered medical home (PCMH).
The PCPCC Support & Alignment Network specifically designed the culture of engagement toolkit for health care practices participating in the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative. However, toolkit creators say its content will prove helpful to any practice seeking strategies to improve person and family engagement.
In keeping with the Academy's longtime support for the PCMH model of care, AAFP EVP and CEO Douglas Henley, M.D., serves on the PCPCC Board of Directors and is the organization's immediate past board chair.
Developers of the resource provide detail about the six steps they say will "guide genuine transformation in culture" and promote patient and family engagement. They encourage practices to take the plunge and
- engage practice leaders, because "Leadership sets the tone for any organizational culture";
- enlist patients and families as partners by creating processes "to harness insights" about their experiences and gaps in care (think focus groups and inviting participation on practice improvement teams or advisory councils);
- empower and energize staff and heighten their sense of purpose by making time for staff members to "share stories of the positive impact they have made on patients' lives";
- encourage family participation in care by asking patients to identify a family care partner and then eliciting that person's observations and questions during visits;
- equip, enable and support patients' engagement by adopting strategies such as "teach-back,"(www.teachbacktraining.org) medication management and shared decision-making; and
- emphasize person and family engagement "in all you do."
Regarding that last item, the resource stresses that this kind of engagement should not be considered just "one more thing to do." Rather, consider it "the tie that binds all that you do together."
The toolkit also devotes an entire page to a listing of Internet links for additional resources referenced in the PCPCC guide.
So what are you waiting for? There's so much good information out there that can really make a difference in a family medicine practice. Go get it.
PCPCC Support & Alignment Network Resource Library(www.pcpcc.org)