Lakewood Health System(LHS) leaders realized that the Patient Experience Council was a great start—but wanted stronger engagement in a variety of avenues. The Medical Home patient advisory group was meeting every other month, but was comprised of a select group of patients. There was still a large majority of patients whose perspective was not being shared. See what they did next...

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If you haven't read how they first started patient and family engagement efforts, see how Lakewood Health System started their journey here.

An innovative patient advisory group was created for the System called VOICE, which stands for Valuable Opinions Innovating Customer Experience. It is an online and virtual advisory group for which Lakewood has approximately over 80 people actively participating. Once a patient signs up, they receive a Welcome email.  Lakewood surveys the group using survey monkey multiple times throughout the year. Different teams within the health system can approach Jennifer Strickland, Customer Experience Director, with a request to survey VOICE. For example, nursing leadership requested to survey the group asking about specific things that nursing could do in the clinic to make the time with patients more valuable.  Importantly, teams who request surveys must provide feedback on how they used information to make changes.  The success of this group is significant, with a typical survey response rate between 78-84%.  Lastly, in order to understand the group better, Lakewood ensures they conduct an annual demographic survey.

Another innovative engagement tactic the Lakewood Health System uses has been a “Flash Mob Invitational.” When the System is looking for a “specific voice” to help shape care delivery, they host a one-time, one-hour patient advisory group based on the patient population they are seeking input from.  The first one held was targeted towards patients in late teens or early twenties. It was noted this frequently healthy patient population could frequently not schedule or would miss clinic visits. The Vice President of Clinical Services met with high school leaders and individuals that could represent that patient population.  The discussion helped Lakewood better understand the obstacles, fears, or challenges facing this clinic patient population.  A second event was one with families who had loved ones affected by dementia. After one hour with this group, Jennifer stated, “We totally went a different direction with grant funding based on their opinion.” What powerful feedback!

Contact Jennifer here, for more information. 

Caution, Look out ahead! Jennifer states some of their biggest challenges have been:

  • Pulling in very busy nurse managers and front-line staff to council meetings and discussions
  • Including patients in team brainstorming sessions where there is complete transparency around potential or actual issues
  • Involving patients in major decisions, expanding the patients’ engagement to other system councils and remembering to seek out the patient voice as early and as consistently in the decision and planning process
  • Making sure we truly utilize the patient voice and engage patients in meaningful activities rather than ‘running our own ideas’ past them or trying to impress them!
  • The cost of software or subscriptions to try more innovative, virtual ideas and concepts