Competing priorities top barrier to patient engagement

A survey of U.S. hospitals revealed a large variation in implementation of patient and family engagement practices, and competing priorities are the most common barrier to adoption, according to a study in the July issue of BMJ Quality & Safety. Lead author Jeph Herrin of the Health Research & Educational Trust, American Hospital Association in Chicago, and his team mailed questionnaires to 3,442 randomly selected hospitals about their use of recommended strategies, including patient and family advisory councils, online access to medical records, health education materials in other languages, 24-hour visitation policies, nurse shift-change reports at the bedside, decision aids, and physician and nurse training in patient engagement. They also asked hospitals about their perceived barriers to adopting these practices. Of 1,457 respondents, the study found that about half of the hospitals were engaged in nine of more than 25 engagement strategies. Fifty-one percent of respondents said competing organizational priorities was a significant barrier. Other obstacles included time to set up and implement advisory programs, time required for rounds and shift changes that engage patients and financial support of patient, family engagement activities. Study