Patient engagement enhances healthcare delivery


Patient engagement in practice improvement projects can lead to enhancements to healthcare delivery systems according to a report.

The report, published in the December 2014 issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, studied patient engagement at University of Wisconsin (UW) Health, Madison, Wisconsin. It identified five key components for fostering a culture of patient engagement.

This comes at a time when national health care policy and local market pressures are encouraging organizations to partner with patients in an effort to improve the value of the health care delivery system.

From 2009 to 2014 at UW Health, 47 teams engaged patients in practice improvement projects. Dr William Caplan and co-authors studied the improvement projects and identified five key components for fostering a culture of patient engagement.

These are: alignment of the organization’s vision with the redesign of national health care priorities to emphasise patient engagement; readily available external experts and training for frontline care teams and improvement coaches; involvement of all care team members in patient engagement; and integration within an existing continuous improvement team development program.

These components led not only to higher levels of patient engagement (as defined in a framework of five progressive levels) but also to positive feedback from staff and providers about the program and patients’ participation.

In an accompanying editorial, Grace Lin and Naomi Bardach of the University of California, San Francisco, suggested that setting an expectation of greater patient engagement (including, at a minimum, discussion of quality improvement initiatives), coupled with training and organizational support, can lead to the successful integration of patients into quality improvement processes.

US, The Joint Commission Journal, Quality and Patient Safety, UW Health, Dr William Caplan, Grace Lin, Naomi Bardach, University of California