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Chat 121 Summary: Listen carefully, do you hear the patients’ voices?

April 3, 2013

By Fanny Gillet and edited by Colleen Young

On Wednesday 27th, Paul Gallant (@HealthWorksBC) moderated our monthly evening chat, welcoming new and veteran hcsmca-ers to discuss patients’ voices present and future. The topics were, in part, inspired by a discussion about patient inclusion in conferences on #hcsmca’s Linkedin Group.

T1: Stakeholder’s Voice: how can we help & hinder our/others voice/opinion in health care transformation? Seeking specific examples & actions

The discussion started with a debate around patient surveys. hcsmca-ers agreed that they are often not adapted to get the full picture of patient feedback. Hospital staff should listen to patients in real time, take to account what they are saying and encourage them to articulate the things they may not dare to say.

Who are included in “hospital staff”? It was highlighted that it is not just the role of doctors and nurses to listen to the patient but rather everyone, from administrators to volunteers, should do so. Indeed, the patient experience includes everything and everyone the patient encounters before and after they see their doctor. Positive patients experience cannot ride on the shoulders of the unpaid.

Why in real time? Because every patient is different. Patients and their stories can’t be standardized, despite some common threads that weave them together.

How to train for such a shift? hcsmca-ers have ideas regarding about that too. For example recruit patients to participate in healthcare provider training.

To the question what hinders the patient’s voice, hcsma-ers underlined the lack of patient presence at conferences and decision-making meetings.

On the other hand, patients can also be their own advocate and engage to help ensure they are heard properly by healthcare providers. They can be volunteers, work with providers and become mentors of other patients to encourage them to do the same or connect to other patients to support them.

During the chat, we were looking for examples of great practices and hcsmca-ers shared many like patient navigators in Nova Scotia (also in Quebec and some others hospitals in Canada), patient associations such as Patient Voices Network in BC and the Patients’ Association of Canada, patients who serve as care counselors in hospitals, patients who talk about the patient experience to all new employees or the lesser known healthcare mystery shoppers.

T2: Patients as partners or as tokens – How to meaningfully include the patient voice in improving the patient experience?

From a patient point of view, it can be difficult to be heard. We need to be persistent, ask questions again and again until we finally get a useful answer.

Hcsmca-ers debated about the use of technology. Opinion was divided: technology can be a barrier, however others thought that if used properly, technology can be helpful.

Also, the community members shared testimonials relating what each one did to open someone’s mind to participatory medicine like:

Regarding the motivational interviews, if you don’t know what they are, you can watch the video that @jimdanahy shared.

Read the full transcript of the chat.

Do you have other examples or ideas to improve patients’ experience?

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