Embed patient experience advisors hospital-wide

Guest post by Doug Della Pietra, director of customer services and volunteers for Rochester General Hospital in New York.

"There's a genuine sense that we're all in this together. We are being heard and acknowledged. We are valued around the table."

"Whether staff or patients or family members, we all want improved outcomes and that's only possible when caregivers and patients and their families are in partnership and work together."

Those are just two testimonials from patient experience advisors on Kingston General Hospital's Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) that four of us--three patient/family advisors and I--heard when we traveled to Kingston, Ontario, a couple of weeks ago.

For starters, KGH's mission is compelling and clear: "Outstanding Care, Always." The hospital's strategy is explicit in its commitment to "transform the patient's experience through a relentless focus on quality, safety and service." Moreover, KGH has developed a simple and memorable definition for patient- and family-centered care: "Respect Me, Hear Me, Work With Me."

At the center of the hospital's desire to transform the patient and family experience is KGH's partnership with the community and patient-centered commitment to shift from "doing to and for" to "doing with." Initial keys steps included engaging a few former patients and family members as voluntary advisors and establishing the PFAC. Since early in 2010, its patient- and family-centered approach has aggressively evolved through two other key initiatives.

>> Read the full commentary at Hospital Impact