A new paper from the National Patient Safety Foundation’s Lucian Leape Institute asserts that enabling patients and families to be respected partners in health care — from the exam room to the policy arena — is essential if the U.S. health care system is to continue to make progress in patient safety. This commitment guides work to improve care and service quality at Kaiser Permanente.
“Safety Is Personal: Partnering with Patients and Families for the Safest Care,” is the product of two roundtable meetings with representatives of patient advocacy organizations, health systems, research organizations and industry leaders. The report advocates for patients and families to be active partners in all aspects of their care, as well as in health care design and delivery and in policy development and research efforts. The report identifies specific action items for health leaders, clinicians and policymakers to pursue in making patient and family engagement a core value in the provision of health care.
“As moderator for the two roundtables on this work, I was struck by the diversity of experiences, perspectives and ideas brought by the participants,” said Doug Bonacum, vice president, Quality, Patient Safety and Resource Management for Kaiser Permanente. “One clear conclusion from our discussion was that partnering with patients and families for the safest possible care is a game changer. When patients fully participate in their care, and help us direct, design and improve safer systems, we don’t abdicate our responsibility for patient safety, we embrace it.”
In speaking about the Safety Is Personal report, Alide Chase, senior vice president, Medicare Clinical Operations and Population Care for Kaiser Permanente said, “Patient, family and caregiver engagement is the key next step in advancing the patient safety movement. As leaders in this effort, Kaiser Permanente was privileged to participate in the development of these important recommendations. We endorse them wholeheartedly and will be working hard to implement them in our own facilities, as well as spreading the word across the industry.
“We are enormously grateful to people like Alide Chase and Doug Bonacum of Kaiser Permanente for giving their time and sharing their insights into this important issue,” said Tejal K. Gandhi, MD, MPH, CPPS, president of the National Patient Safety Foundation and the NPSF Lucian Leape Institute.
Kaiser Permanente is committed to providing education and training for its health care providers and staff so that they may better engage with patients in the decisions and management of their health. Already, Kaiser Permanente has implemented process and system redesigns to support patient- and family-centered care and has brought the patient voice into the conversation through active participation on patient advisory councils. Through these and other innovative approaches to patient safety, Kaiser Permanente seeks to lead the nation and provide the blueprint for improving health care across the nation.
The report is available on the NPSF website at http://www.npsf.org/lli/safety-is-personal.