How Do You Involve Patients in Improvement?

Barbara Balik, RN; IHI Senior Faculty, Common Fire Healthcare Consulting

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Learning Objectives: At the end of this activity, you will be able to:
  • Identify one first step organizations can take to involve patients in improvement.
  • Explain why “asking one now” can expedite patient involvement.
  • Give at least two examples of involving patients in improvement.
Description: Patient and Family Advisory Councils are critical to improving care. But they take time to develop. What can you do today to involve patients in improvement?

In this video, Barbara Balik, RN, explains why “asking one now” is a great way to jumpstart your efforts to involve patients in quality improvement. She offers examples of how clinicians are using this simple tool to get valuable input on improvement ideas.
Discussion Questions:
  1. What do you think of the “ask one now” approach? What might be the advantages and disadvantages as compared to a Patient and Family Advisory Council?
  2. When is the best time to “ask one now”? How important do you think the timing is?
  3. What are some improvement projects that could benefit from patient input? Think about areas for improvement you’ve identified at work in a health care setting or as a patient or a family member.
  4. Have you ever worked with patients and families in improvement before? What kind of input did they have, and how did it affect the process and the outcome?
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