The theme of this year’s National Patient Safety Awareness Week (March 8-14) is “United in Safety.” The goal is to focus on patient engagement and emphasize the importance of the relationship between providers and patients and their families. In honor of this week, I’d like to highlight some of the resources IHI has developed for care providers, middle managers, executives, boards, and others to encourage patient and family engagement.
Patient Agenda Form
During IHI’s AHRQ-funded work on PROMISES (Proactive Reduction of Outpatient Malpractice: Improving Safety, Efficiency, and Satisfaction) Project, we made a number of resources and tools available to participants. One is a patient agenda form that guides communication about the following topics:
- What concerns would you like us to focus on today?
- Please list any prescriptions you may need refilled today.
- Please list any specialists you have seen and tests you have had recently.
Improving Office Visit Communication
Another helpful resource describes strategies to improve communication between providers and patients during the office visit. Developed by Leana Wen, MD, author of When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests, these strategies include:
- Establish an active partnership
- Focus on the diagnosis
- Understand every test ordered
Self-Management Support Toolkit
To support patients and families in the day-to-day management of chronic conditions, IHI developed the Partnering in Self-Management Support: A Toolkit for Clinicians. The concepts and tools in this toolkit give busy clinical practices tested resources and tools to help patients effectively manage their condition and sustain healthy behaviors.
Keeping patients engaged and informed leads to safer care. Respect for patient wishes and involving them in their own health care benefits patients and clinicians. To find better ways to engage patients and respect their wishes, it is important to focus the conversation away from “What is the matter with you?” to “What matters to you?” Using tools like those listed above can help do this more effectively.
What are you doing during Patient Safety Awareness Week to engage patients in their care?