PTN Best Practices Podcast: Engaging Patients in Quality Improvement and Transformation, Part II

In this week’s episode of Best Practices, Dr. Thomas Spain is onsite today at Siloam Health in Nashville to discuss the work of involving patients in quality improvement and change in the practice. He is joined by Laura Camp, the Chief Operations Officer of Siloam Health, Kap Sum, the Patient Relations Manager at Siloam Health, and Ricardo Castillo, a patient of Siloam Health and part of the Patient Advisory Council. Over the last four years, the MidSouth PTN has encouraged practices to work around the idea of involving patients more deeply in the practice. Siloam Health has excelled in this arena, and today they are giving listeners insight into the value of involving patients and why it is useful to practices as healthcare moves toward a value-based system.

When Siloam began working toward creating a Patient Advisory Council in 2015, there were not many resources available. The clinic tried a number of things that did not work. There was no consistency in meetings, and the monthly meeting put too much expectation on the patients. To gather ideas about how to successfully implement a PAC (or PFAC), the team observed a PAC meeting of the SafetyNet coalitions. That observation inspired them to schedule the meetings quarterly, to have consistency with communicating with patients, to stick with a set agenda, and to leave room in an open floor policy for patients to bring up things that are on their mind. This strategy worked, and it led to a much richer understanding of the patients and their needs.

Siloam’s team offered some advice for those practices interested in building a PAC. Starting small is the best practice, and taking the time to develop a relationship with patients will help a practice find those patients who believe in the practice’s mission. A level of transparency and vulnerability is necessary, but as trust grows and evolves in these relationships, the practice-patient partnership will lead to discoveries that never would have occurred otherwise. The best advice: In the words of Ricardo Castillo, a patient of Siloam’s since 2001, “Talk to your patients. They may not know a lot about medicine, but they know about how they want to be treated.”

Siloam’s journey toward creating a Patient Advisory Council is an illustration of quality improvement. The practice tried something that initially did not work. Instead of giving up, Siloam’s team looked at what they had learned, considered whether they could make an iterative change, and they tried again. Throughout this process, Siloam repeatedly showed their patients that the practice cared about them, that they were dedicated to making a PAC work, and that they were determined to dig into the heart of the issues that are important to patients. The results have been invaluable. Listen to the full episode here.

To hear these and other Best Practices podcast episodes, visit the MidSouth PTN LinkedIn page or our Apple Podcast Page.

The views expressed in this story are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of included persons or entities. Additionally, this work was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative, under grant number 1CMS331549-03-00. The contents provided are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of HHS or any of its agencies.


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