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Profile of Change: How MetroHealth Established its Cadre of Patient and Family Advisors and an Advisory Council (PFAC)

The MetroHealth System

The MetroHealth System is an integrated health system located in Cleveland, Ohio. It includes an acute care hospital housing the area's only Level I Adult Trauma and Burn Center, a skilled nursing facility, and a network of 20 locations throughout the community, with more on the way. All MetroHealth active physicians are faculty of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

In 2013, MetroHealth established an Office of Patient Experience (OPX), including a new Patient- and Family-Centered Care (PFCC) program. Within a year, the OPX implemented Pathways to Patient Experience, a four-hour training program for MetroHealth's 6700 medical providers and staff. The power of patient stories featured in patient videos at this training spurred MetroHealth in 2014 to establish a Patient and Family Advisory (PFA) task force—including two volunteer patient and family advisors and employee representatives from multiple disciplines—to bring the voice of patients and families to hospital operations.

Over the course of a year, Bev Johnson, IPFCC President and CEO, visited three times to consult. In July 2014, OPX recruited Jennifer Lastic as Program Coordinator for the Patient and Family Advisor program. She was responsible for launching all aspects of the PFA program. To jumpstart the program in the fall of 2014, Jennifer attended IPFCC's intensive training seminar, Moving Forward with Patient-and Family-Centered Care: Partnerships for Quality & Safety. According to Jennifer, the seminar "was an amazing educational opportunity. The small group sessions were especially helpful. I was able to share ideas with colleagues from other institutions and complete a project action plan to establish a PFA program and a PFAC at MetroHealth."

In a little more than a year, MetroHealth now has a PFAC and 44 PFAs partnering with staff and leadership! PFAs sit on multiple hospital committees and partner with staff on a myriad of projects. The PFAC is working on a variety of initiatives to improve the patient and family experience, and to advance the safety and quality of care. Read more...