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How Patient and Family Advisory Councils Improve Your Patient Experience

January 27, 2020

Patient and Family Advisory Councils play a vital role in delivering quality care to both patients and families. Simply put, they allow patients’ voices to be heard.

By having councils like these in place, healthcare organizations can more readily build relationships with their patients by hearing the personal stories they have to share. Collecting feedback, whether positive or critical, enables the organization to better shape the healthcare experience specifically around patients and their needs. 

Representing the Community

The individuals on these councils are current or recent hospital patients. Often a patient’s caregiver — usually a family member — will join the council as well. Because all have been involved with the hospital within the last two years, the feedback they provide is relevant, insightful and useful. 

Orlando Health team members at each hospital site interact with patients on a daily basis and often refer patients and families who might be good fits for these councils. It’s one way they can be recruited for the roles, although patients also may fill out an online application. 

Application questions cover areas such as which hospital they had an experience with and what improvements could have been made during their visit. It’s important to get a feel for who they are and what kind of experience they had. After they submit an application and participate in a phone interview, an invitation to participate may be extended. 

No Topic Is Taboo

At Orlando Health hospital sites, Patient and Family Advisory Councils meet at least four times a year and discuss an agenda specific to their hospital. Past meetings have included topics ranging from patient privacy to making waiting rooms more appealing to healthcare consumers.

Food and nutrition teams have even participated. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a hospital or not, you want creature comforts like enjoying a nice hot meal. In this case, the team had the council taste food prepared by the hospital chefs and asked for feedback. Was it hot enough? Was it appealing? Was the portion size right?

If a tour of a new hospital facility is provided, the council can share their thoughts. If new initiatives are being developed, again, feedback is solicited. And no matter what is shared, administrators appreciate the direct feedback and respond in positive ways even to opportunity areas.

Being Patient-Focused

These councils ultimately help healthcare systems keep patients at the core of everything they do. Having these individuals volunteer their time helps create customer service that is 100% centered on our patients. 

If you live in the Central Florida area, have been a recent patient at Orlando Health, and would like to be considered for one of Orlando Health’s Patient and Family Advisory Councils, you may start by filling out an application. We’d love to hear your story.

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