Patients and Families: The Often Overlooked Keys to Healthcare Success

In today’s lessons, we discussed the value of initiatives like CANDOR in attempting to not only provide closure and apologies for medical error, but also in ensuring a closed-loop feedback mechanism takes place to allow for process improvements and self-care that will ensure future mistakes of the same kind will not be made. We discussed how simple things such as not billing patients when medical errors occur are often looked over or left to the wayside and how powerful honesty, transparency, and accountability can be in removing some of the antagonism between healthcare providers and patients families after a medical error has occurred.

A line from aviation that has been repeated and has really stuck out to me has been that “we don’t compete in safety”. While healthcare providers seek to take care of their patients and healthcare systems might compete for business, its important to recognize that when everyone is able to provide safe effective care, or in the aviation industry, safe transport, everyone stands to benefit. Providers will fulfill their goals of providing high-quality care, patients will receive safe care, and healthcare systems will benefit from the trust of patients in their health systems to alleviate the ailments of both the patients and their loved ones.

The last thing that really resonated with me today was the idea of PFACQS. To me, this is by far one of the most ingenious ideas that a healthcare institution can implement. It stands to reason that as a service provider, the best and most effective way to know what would most benefit your users or consumers would be to simply ask them and include them in the design of your system or product. This concept is not so foreign in other industries, as product designs often take into account feedback from focus groups and the desires and wishes of the consumers that will be the very same ones to purchase the product or service. Including patients and their families in PFACQS committees not only ensures that their voices are heard, but also ensures that the model of Shared-Decision Making can be implemented not just in the care of one single patient, but rather an entire hospital or entire health system. I think I would like to direct some of my future interests in QI, into examining these kinds of market-driven solutions that serve functions in other industries and examining their application and implementation in healthcare.