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posted on: 4/29/2019 6:44:28 PM
During the 28 years I have been a nurse, health care has evolved in many ways; but, the most influential is in the way health care is reimbursed for services. Historically, health care was reimbursed for each visit and for services rendered to the patient. Now, healthcare organizations are reimbursed on the quality of care delivered and on the patients’ satisfaction of care received. This is called value-based purchasing. Value-based purchasing was developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). These organizations collaborated and created a standardized survey to acquire the patients’ feedback on care received from healthcare organizations. Since value-based purchasing was implemented, healthcare organizations across the country have been reshaping not only how medical services are provided, but also how feedback is collected from those who are directly impacted – the patients and their family members.
At Lima Memorial Health Systems (LMHS), capturing and understanding the voice of the patient is of paramount importance. A survey is sent to patients one to two weeks after they are discharged from the hospital, the results of which are evaluated and scrutinized monthly by a diverse team of associates. To supplement this survey, we’ve recently implemented a new real-time survey process, whereby patients receive a text and / or email one to three days following their discharge. These abbreviated surveys are designed to ensure healthcare needs are addressed in a timely and respectful manner. Immediate insights through the real-time survey results will enable us to impact processes, inspire behavior change and implement service recovery at the earliest possible stage.
Data shows healthcare organizations that lack a professional relationship with their patients and families will have poor patient medical outcomes, increased length of stays, poor patient experiences and poor satisfaction scores. To gain even more insights from our patients and their family members, Lima Memorial established a Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) in 2018. This 13-member council is a partnership of patients, family and staff advisors and promotes the concept of patient-centered care to enhance the delivery of health care at Lima Memorial Health System. Advisors on the council provide information to staff about the needs and concerns of patients, caregivers and family members; collaborate with staff to improve services and programs that affect patients and family members; and offer insight and recommendations for improving quality, safety, access, education and patient & family satisfaction.
The PFAC engages patients and families in the everyday hospital activities such as, the development of policies and procedures, patient education and services. Patients and families are the most underutilized stakeholder that healthcare organizations have access to; yet, healthcare organizations struggle with the partnership. However, at Lima Memorial Health System we have welcomed and embraced the partnership with open arms.
Since the development of the Patient and Family Advisory Council last year, many initiatives have been implemented with the guidance of our council. Thanks to their input, current patients are now wearing new patient gowns that are more functionally appropriate, providing for a safer and more dignified experience. New educational brochures describing the inpatient rehab experience are being provided to patients and their family members when they enter our inpatient rehabilitation center. Additionally, thanks to input from the PFAC, patients are now permitted to order food from the cafeteria menu, in addition to their in-room menu. Advisory council members also had the opportunity to provide valuable feedback and on the health system’s new online bill pay software selection, which will be implemented in 2019. These are just a few of the ways the PFAC has made an impact on services provided at Lima Memorial. The council is looking forward to another busy year and have already identified several initiatives they want to tackle in 2019.
As you can see, the impact of the PFAC reaches far and wide. These individuals have generated new ideas on how LMHS can improve care and services rendered at the organization for all patients by sharing their personal experiences here at LMHS. The patient or family member story is the most powerful way to disclose blind spots in care so our organization can learn and grow. Our PFAC meetings are held bi-monthly in the evening to be cognizant of our members’ personal schedules. The agenda of our meetings is to share personal experiences or the experiences shared from friends or family members as well as discuss policies, services, care and procedures that have a direct impact on patients and family members who receive care at LMHS. As stated in the beginning, the goal is to always promote the concept of patient and family-centered care and enhance the patient and family experience at LMHS.
If you would like more information about Lima Memorial’s Patient and Family Advisory Council, please call 419-226-5093, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitted by: Yvette Hauenstein, Registered Nurse, Clinical Manager 3 South
Lima Memorial Health System Patient Family Advisory Council Facilitator