Patients play an important role alongside clinicians and administrators in working to improve patient care. The MGH’s several Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFAC) provide perspectives to help shape hospital services, programs and initiatives. Members also participate on committees across the institution.

General PFAC member Hilary Deignan was the first patient member of the Anesthesia Quality and Safety Committee. “Hilary’s perspective helped address issues the patients are wondering about, not what we think patients are wondering about,” said Jeremi Mountjoy, MD, anesthesiologist and physician lead for the committee.

Deignan worked with the committee to develop informational materials to better prepare patients undergoing anesthesia. “I attended meetings, brainstormed,  worked with the committee and had equal participation and access,” Deignan said. “I took the final content to the PFAC, which reviewed it as an end user would, and got additional feedback, much of which was incorporated.”

Having Deignan on the committee was helpful in connecting with PFAC, said Allison Doney, Anesthesia administrative manager and co-chair of the Quality and Safety Committee. The department is now piloting a web-based patient information portal to get baseline and follow-up information from a select patient population.

The Patient Perspective on Perioperative Care Task Force (P3C) facilitates patient input on care quality policies and the consent process. “I have learned that having patient and family perspectives on decisions that we believe are right from the clinical and hospital perspective is helpful to guide and validate whether we’re moving in the right direction,” said Peter Dunn, MD, executive medical director, Perioperative Administration.

Bill Kieffer, PFAC and P3C member, said, “We looked at consent forms for anesthesia, blood transfusion and HIV screening from a patient and family point of view and recommended changes to make the forms clearer. We urged that wherever possible, the conversations between anesthesiologists, surgeons and the patient and family members take place in advance of the procedure, leaving time for questions.”

The MGH has several PFACs representing a large proportion of specialty care areas – including MassGeneral Hospital for Children, the MGH Cancer Center, Heart and Vascular, Pediatric Oncology, Ambulatory Practice of the Future and cystic fibrosis. Last November, the PFACs jointly hosted an event to highlight patient and family member contributions that enhance the MGH care experience across the organization and the importance of the patient and family voice.

Read more articles from the 07/27/18 Hotline issue.