Monday, August 23, 2010

Patients are the best consultants

I often remark to the doctors and nurses I encounter that the best consultants or speakers they will ever hire are the patients and families in their waiting rooms.

Patients and their families contain valuable information about the current day-to-day processes used by clinics and hospitals, which is necessary to improve health care quality and safety. Based on what you hear on the news, it’s no surprise that our health care system is in desperate need of some changes. Patient perspective adds value and expertise.

We do not need to reinvent the wheel. We need to take what we know works from real patient and family experiences and allow that to impact our health care system. We can press forward and allow the patient perspective to effectively improve healthcare. Corporate management often makes changes that look and sound effective but are out of touch with what is really required to make a change and provide the best possible outcome for patients and their families, as well as management. We have to get to the point where comment cards in clinics and hospitals are not just a passive communication tool. They should be agenda items on the weekly staff meeting, where it does affect change, leading towards re-education and daily practice improvements.

We, as patients and families, are the missing link in improving health care. Our real life medical experiences and the lessons we learned from them are more valuable than the tips and guidelines highly paid consultants use to suggest improvements to health care systems. The critical difference is when guidelines are supported by the patient perspective, they become infused with a powerful influence that most corporate consultants lack. When the patient perspective partners with the medical perspective, it produces an environment where the human experience and medical experience are one.

Patients and families have suggestions and input on current medical processes because they have already piloted and tested these processes firsthand. Patients and their families live on both sides of health care, in a place where the view is from both sides. The scope is wide, encompassing a life at home that is trying to connect to an unfamiliar way of life in health care. The unique view of patients and families is valuable because they are constantly trying to reconnect home life and medical life, providing an insight unlike any other. With a stronger, more influential patient perspective present in health care education and training, we will easily obtain what has been missing in health care improvements in the past.

Be the Change wants to partner with nurses, doctors, clinics, hospitals, college programs, and any company or organization that believes in putting a new value to the patient perspective. That desire will be the beginning to the many ways each one of us can Be the Change. One person has a dream and when others believe in it, everyone is changed.

No comments:

Post a Comment