Help AAFP NRN Shape Patient Engagement Research

Survey Feedback to Inform Interactive Conference Development

August 24, 2017 04:53 pm Chris Crawford

The AAFP's National Research Network (AAFP NRN) is asking family physicians to fill out its survey on patient engagement(www.surveymonkey.com) so it can better shape its patient engagement research and create an interactive conference to share best practices back to members.  

[Multiple medical staff members sitting around table]

Mindy Spano, research communications manager for the AAFP NRN, told AAFP News that the goal of the project is to produce well-informed (real-world) changes in how primary care practices engage patients that can be implemented immediately.

"Through information collected in this survey, we will be better informed about how primary care practices are currently engaging patients and caregivers in activities such as setting practice priorities, providing oversight and input, and the types of research, if any, that the practice participates in," she said.

This patient engagement project, which is funded by the Patient-centered Outcomes Research Institute, represents an important area of concentration for the AAFP NRN, said Spano. The project's developers view it as a way to strongly emphasize how patient engagement in family medicine influences readiness to participate in patient-centered outcomes research, as well as the importance of engaging patients in the decision to participate in research projects and initiatives.

Story highlights
  • The AAFP's National Research Network (AAFP NRN) is asking family physicians to complete a patient engagement survey to help shape its patient engagement research and create an interactive conference to share best practices.
  • Family physician offices that actively engage patients and/or caregivers in their practice or research initiatives are encouraged to complete the AAFP NRN's survey, which should take about 15 minutes to finish.
  • The survey asks about engagement readiness, ways patients are currently involved in practice activities, and how research activities are being influenced by patient engagement activities.  

Survey Details

According to AAFP NRN Director Jennifer Carroll, M.D., M.P.H., the rationale for inviting widespread family physician participation in the survey process is to create "a landscape of patient engagement activities that are occurring, as well as structures and processes to support patient engagement in practices."

Family medicine practices that actively engage patients and/or caregivers in their practice or research initiatives are especially encouraged to complete the AAFP NRN's survey, which should take about 15 minutes to finish.

The survey asks questions about engagement readiness; ways patients are currently involved in setting practice priorities, providing oversight and offering input; and how research activities are being influenced by these patient engagement activities.

Survey questions also cover specific methods of patient engagement, available oversight personnel and leadership of related activities.

Spano said in addition to family physicians, knowledgeable staff also are welcome to complete the survey for each practice.

"Practices contributing to the survey will be collectively recognized as leaders by sharing their experiences and innovations related to engaging patients in health care and research initiatives with other primary care practices that are struggling," she said.

The survey will close Sept. 30 to allow time for data analysis and development of the resulting conference. Participants who fully complete the survey can enter a drawing to win an iPad Pro.

"The survey is completely anonymous, so we can't follow up with the participants directly," Spano said. "However, we fully intend to share aggregate findings from the survey in an issue brief this fall to be posted on the Academy's website. There is also extensive dissemination planned for sharing outcomes and next-day changes that result from the conference."

Patient Engagement Conference

The AAFP NRN currently plans to hold its interactive conference on patient engagement in family medicine in spring 2018.

"Much of what we learn from this survey and our other data collection methods (e.g., site visits) will directly feed into the development of the conference," Spano said. "We are excited to see how the conference will take shape based on the information and knowledge we are collecting from practices on the front lines."

Spano said the conference will include a balanced number of physicians, patients and caregivers, and researchers. "Likewise, the conference planning committee consists of the same three constituencies," she added. "Each of these groups will bring an interesting perspective to the content selected for the conference."

The conference also will use various novel approaches for audience engagement and participation, such as:

  • presentations given by the physician/patient/researcher triads to facilitate multidimensional conversations;
  • the use of so-called Liberating Structures (i.e., participation microstructures that enhance relational coordination and trust) to guide conversations and brainstorming sessions;
  • using live audience feedback technology to guide content appropriateness; and
  • the use of real-time graphic facilitation to visually capture content throughout the conference.

"We anticipate that the output from the conference will result in ideas and practices that are practical, easily adopted and improvement-oriented and that can benefit practices immediately," Spano said.

The ultimate goal of the research project, said Carroll, is to "raise awareness of patient engagement models and practices that are happening among members and inspire them to develop their own ways to promote patient engagement."

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