Lakewood Health System Launches Patient Advisory Groups

389 Lakewood Health System is one of four hospitals in Minnesota chosen to take part in the “Include Always” pilot initiative launched by the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA).

The “Include Always” initiative was created in an effort to promote patient and family engagement in all aspects of healthcare. According to research done by the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) and the American Hospital Association (AHA), patient and family engagement in healthcare decisions has been proven to lower the cost of care, lead to better health outcomes, improve patient safety, quality, experience and satisfaction and increase healthcare professionals satisfaction and retention.

As part of the “Include Always” initiative, Lakewood has created a Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC), which consists of 12 members. Members of this group include patients, family and community members, and a Lakewood District Board member, representing a variety of communities and ages. The intent of the group is to share healthcare-related stories, experiences and ideas, in order to help facilitate changes or improvements to current and future processes which will positively impact the patient experience at Lakewood.

In addition to the PFAC, three patient-based advisory groups that have been implemented at Lakewood over the past year to assure the voices of patients and family members are heard throughout the planning, development and improvement processes within Lakewood. Started in 2014, VOICE, which stands for Valuable Opinions Innovating Customer Experience, is a group of people who provide feedback on various topics/services using monthly anonymous, online surveys. Flash Mob Invitational’s consist of people invited to give their feedback and opinion based on their involvement and association with a specific program or service. The Health Care Home patient advisory group, formerly known as the Medical Home advisory group, meets quarterly to discuss patient experience issues with medical staff.

Our patients and family members are at the center of all we do at Lakewood and including their perspective and opinions before decisions are made is very important,” said Customer Experience Director Jennifer Strickland. “Having already created our other patient groups, joining the “Include Always” initiative was a natural fit. It will allow us to further connect with our patients and give them an opportunity to share their stories, which will help us enhance the great care we provide.

Other Minnesota pilot hospitals include Glencoe Regional Health Services, Grand Itasca Hospital and Clinic — Grand Rapids and Windom Area Hospital.