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Patient & Family Engagement: a Survey of US Hospital Practices

Patient and family engagement is associated with better health outcomes, higher patient ratings of quality, and reduced use of health services. So what are hospitals doing to engage patients and their families?

Results of a survey point to current practices used by hospitals in the US. Twenty-five consensus engagement strategies were covered in the survey; they addressed organizational practices, bedside practices, and information access and shared decision-making.

Researchers found a large variation in hospital implementation of engagement practices. About half of hospitals fully used 9 or more of the 25 patient and family engagement practices.

Among the most widely adopted engagement practices were:

  • Written policies on patients’ rights to identify which personal contacts they’d like to have actively involved in their care
  • Policy for unrestricted visitor access to at lease some units
  • Formal policy to disclose and apologize for medical errors

The practices less widely adopted were:

  • Involvement of patients or family as educators when training clinical staff
  • Patient and family advisory councils meeting within the last year
  • Patients and family members sitting on the patient and family advisory council

The most common barrier to implementation by hospitals was identified as competing priorities.


Source: Herrin J and others. Patient and family engagement: a survey of US hospital practices. BMJ Quality & Safety online first, June 2015. http://qualitysafety.bmj.com/content/early/2015/06/16/bmjqs-2015-004006.full

Related: Patient and family engagement and patient satisfaction: results of a national survey.  Health Research & Educational Trust in partnership with American Hospital Association. April 2015. http://www.hpoe.org/Reports-HPOE/2015/pfesurveyresultsjuly12015_final.ppt

Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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