By Coverys Education 

Each year, the month of March brings a renewed emphasis on patient safety awareness, thanks to the efforts of the National Patient Safety Foundation and others. At Coverys, we’re celebrating our commitment to patient safety by unveiling a special series of videos about how Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) are changing lives and improving care. We will release a new video each Tuesday in March—follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter for updates. 

Video Series

March 7: Patient and Family Advisory Council - Beginnings 
March 14: Patient and Family Advisory Council - Foundations
March 21: Patient and Family Advisory Council - Voices
March 28: Patient and Family Advisory Council - Impact

To produce these inspiring videos, we asked healthcare leaders and PFAC members to share their experiences and unique perspectives on how these advisory councils are changing the face of healthcare delivery. Interviews were obtained through Coverys and the Michigan Health and Hospital Association (MHA) in collaboration with Spectrum Health, a nationally ranked integrated health system serving 13 counties in West Michigan that utilizes PFACs.

Many Voices, One Goal

This video series brings you the stories of patients and families who have partnered with hospitals and healthcare systems by serving on PFACs. These are the voices of currently or formerly sick or injured people of all ages. They’re the voices of spouses, children, and parents of patients who spent days, weeks, or even months receiving everything from cancer treatment to complex surgical interventions to physical therapy. They are the voices of a community. Combining these voices with those of healthcare providers and others who have a stake in the healthcare environment has the power to change lives and transform healthcare enterprises.

PFACs work on various initiatives and have many objectives; however, they all share one common goal: to improve the quality of healthcare provided to patients, now and in the future.

It has been estimated that more than 2,000 hospitals in the United States have PFACs. In 2008, Massachusetts became the first state to mandate that all hospitals establish and maintain Advisory Councils, with at least half of PFAC members being patients and family members. Typically, PFACs comprise patients, family members, community members, and hospital staff.

Whether an Advisory Council is established because of a mandate or because of a mission, it’s safe to assume that nearly all hospitals and health systems that use them would agree that such groups ultimately become effective “formal vehicle[s] for amplifying patient and family voices to truly achieve a more patient- and family-centered culture of care.”

Thank you

Thank you to the many people at MHA and Spectrum Health who worked with us to make these videos possible. We are particularly grateful to Tina Freese-Decker, Dr. Mike Kramer, James Bonner, Amanda Miles, David Weinandy, and Wally Wasilewski for sitting down with us to speak so candidly about Patient Family Advisory Councils and why they matter. Your voices will carry.

The information described is for general education purposes only and is in no way intended to serve as legal or financial advice. For advice on handling specific legal issues, always consult with an attorney.