Hospitals seek out patient input to improve outcomes

Increasingly, hospitals are using patient advisory boards as a sounding board for hospital leaders, asking for patients' advice on a range of issues, according to a USA Today report.

For example, a patient advisory board at Boston-based Partners HealthCare helped the health system pick its new EHR system, an investment with a price tag of nearly $700 million.

In 2013, roughly 40 percent of hospitals had some sort of patient council, according to the report. That number has seemingly increased in the past few years, though many experts maintain it is too early to know whether the patient involvement improves hospital practices.

According to the report, the "hunt for patient perspective" has been driven in part by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's quality-improvement provisions, as well as other federal financial incentives, such as the link between Medicare payments and patient satisfaction scores.

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Federal incentives aren't the only driver, however; patients expect to be more involved as they shoulder larger shares of the costs of healthcare, Richard Evans, chief experience officer at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, told USA Today.

Other issues patient advisory boards have been asked to weigh in on at various hospitals include facility security, how hospitals should present patients with billing information and hiring practices for physicians and nurses.

While the roles of patient committees grow, hospitals still struggle to recruit members from diverse background that have the inclination to get involved and the time. Currently, many council members are middle-aged or older, white, English-speaking and women, according to the report.



More articles on patient engagement:
The power of patient portals: 7 key findings on patient interactions with health technology
The enterprise engagement platform and patient-centricity: Setting the stage with CRM
Patient engagement via mobile health?

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