My role as CEO of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute takes me around the country seemingly non-stop, meeting with and speaking to various groups of people and advancing the patient safety and quality improvement agenda. It's a part of what I do that I absolutely love. If you've ever heard me speak, or give a presentation, you'll know that I like to humanize the subject matter as much as possible, often with stories drawn from my own experiences and life lessons picked up along the way.
Although I can leverage my professional experiences and speak to a room as a CEO of a healthcare organization, or a front-line healthcare provider, the parts that resonate the most are my stories of what it was like to be a patient or a family member in the healthcare system. This isn't surprising, because it's something to which we can relate. Every now and then, we all get to play the part of the patient or the family member.
It may not be the focus of my speech or presentation, but I like the fact that these stories garner so much attention. It means there is recognition within the system that the voice of the patient is important. A top-down approach to care delivery is increasingly becoming a thing of the past.
As healthcare leaders and providers, we need to empower our patients to embrace their role as advocates of their own healthcare. We have to make it okay to speak up and ask questions.
There are countless examples of quality initiatives happening all over Canada where the patient has a seat at the table. At CPSI, we practice what we preach and lean on Patients for Patient Safety Canada to ensure the role of the patient and the family members is accounted for in everything we do. We're also not the only ones making this a priority.
While the patient voice is being heard, we need to do more than sustain momentum, we need to keep pushing. I envision a time when patient engagement is as much a point of pride as our publically funded healthcare system.
I believe it can happen!
What do you think? Where have you seen the benefits patient engagement can have of care outcomes? Share your story with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yours in patient safety,