A Background and Update on Patient Family Advisory Councils
HCGC led project celebrates third year, announces virtual restart amidst pandemic
by Heidi Christman, Director of Communications, HCGC
Based on Presentation to COPC PFAC Leads by David Brackett, Vice President, Accounting and Special Projects, HCGC
HCGC has been managing, leading and facilitating Patient Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) in partnership with Central Ohio Primary Care (COPC) since 2017. A PFAC is a regular meeting with both staff and volunteer patients and families of a medical practice, in this case, within the COPC family of primary care practices. Members of the PFAC collaborate with employees (clinical, administrative and support) to provide guidance on how to improve patient and family experiences. At the meetings, councils work on a variety of practice and patient-and-family-centered care initiatives. The goal of a PFAC is to provide a collaborative environment that will enhance the experience for all patients and families at COPC through patient-and-family-centered care (PFCC) using constructive input that only patients and family members can provide.
The Four Guiding Principles of PFACS
Patients, families, healthcare practitioners, and health care leaders collaborate in policy and program development, implementation, and evaluation; in facility design; and in professional education, as well as in the delivery of care.
Dignity and Respect
Healthcare practitioners listen to and honor patient and family perspectives and choices. Patient and family knowledge, values, beliefs, and cultural backgrounds are incorporated into the planning and delivery of care.
Healthcare practitioners communicate and share complete and unbiased information with patients and families in ways that are affirming and useful. Patients and families receive timely , complete, and accurate information in order to effectively participate in care and decision-making.
Patients and families are encouraged and supported in participating in care and decision-making at the level they choose.
Celebrating Three Years of Impactful Engagement
In the three years since HCGC and COPC partnered to convene PFACs, there have been 2,000 patients engaged and 380 PFAC meetings held, with average quarterly attendance across all sites at 189 patients. PFACs have allowed for the implementation of qualitative and quantitative satisfaction surveys, creation of newsletters and informational displays to improve patient education and practice communication, as well as countless patient concerns and ideas being solicited and addressed. Over the lifetime of the project, there have been two major quality improvement outcomes that can be in part attributed to PFAC recommendations: there was a 21% increase in patients whose diabetes a1c measured as “in control”, and there was an 8% increase in patients whose blood pressure measured as “in control.”
Moving Forward Virtually
With safety in mind, HCGC and COPC made the decision to put PFACS on hold from March until August 2020. After time to plan and regroup, a plan was made to move forward with PFACs virtually. Starting with a participatory webinar in late August, PFAC leads, as well as HCGC and COPC staff came together to discuss convening PFACS via webinar for the third and fourth quarter of 2020. Participants discussed establishing goals for PFACs in these virtual meetings. Topics such as telehealth, COVID-19 education and information, as well as maneuvering in person office visits amidst COVID-19 were all discussed as potential topics for PFACs to address. Additionally, considerations for lack of access or knowledge of webinar platforms (Zoom in this case) were taken into account. HCGC committed to hosting all webinars on behalf of the COPC participating PFACs, as well as providing educational resources on how to use the platform for PFAC leads and members.
Now, more than ever, the voices of patient and family members are essential in improving patient experiences in primary care offices. While virtual, the team at HCGC and COPC look forward to hearing the patient perspective amidst these unique, unprecedented times. In the spirit of partnership and collaboration, HCGC and COPC look forward to moving forward to continue giving patients and families a seat at the table, whether it be virtually or in person down the road, to improve experience and outcomes for patients in Central Ohio.
For more information on PFACS, contact David Bracket at firstname.lastname@example.org.